Nice to meet you…what’s your name again?

How many times have you been at a meeting or a party, meet someone, and less than five seconds later you’re thinking, “What’s that person’s name?” Why is it so difficult to remember the name of someone you just met?

It has to do with your brain (shocking news). According to this Lifehacker article, your brain has short-term and long-term memory. The short-term memory releases information all of the time because it has to process so much information. Your brain wants to make connections–and retain memories–when it has data to connect. A person’s name isn’t necessarily something that we connect with, but other information about them that we’ve learned, such as where they live, or what they do for a living does (“Oh, you live on Maple Street. My aunt used to live on Maple Street” for example).

One key to remembering someone’s name is to try to link it to something you already know.

Other tips:

  • Say the person’s name back to them after they tell you and repeat the name in your mind several times.You’re creating an impression in your brain (“hey, this is important”) and clarifying that you understood their name.
  • Spell the name in your mind. You are reinforcing the name in your mind.
  • Talk to the person and try to find some association with them, so that you mind will think “this may be a long-term situation, so more mental resources need to be devoted to it.”

More tips on remembering names are here.

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