Networking Know-How: Methods for Memorizing Names

by Ryan Halvorson on Sep 08, 2009

Making News

Networking—whether to increase your client base or develop colleague contacts—is an essential aspect of business development. Yet how many times have you attended networking mixers only to forget the names of many of the people you meet? Never forget a name again with these tips from Mary Bratcher, MA, DipLC, co-owner of The BioMechanics in San Diego:

  • Ask the person for a business card, and read the name printed on it aloud. This strategy is useful for visual learners who need more than auditory cues to remember a name.

  • Pair up the person’s first name with the last name of a celebrity or someone you know. For example, if you meet someone named Britney, you can mentally pair her up with the last name Spears.

  • Mentally pair up the person’s first name with an object or place. If you meet someone named Amber, you can visualize a pendant made of amber.

  • Sometimes it can be helpful to make up a simple rhyme that incorporates the person’s name. For example, Jane like rain, or Fraser like razor.

  • If any of these tricks fail, it’s best to be straightforward with the person and ask for her name again. The worst thing you can do is “wing it” and hope the person doesn’t realize you’ve forgotten or don’t know her name; this can give the appearance that you don’t care for her. Also avoid saying things like “I’m so bad with names,” because it implies that this is something that isn’t important to you.

For more tips on networking and remembering names, check out the following articles, which can be found in the online IDEA Library at

  • “Networking for Introverts,” by Carrie Myers Smith, June 2004 IDEA Fitness Journal

  • “How Fit Is Your Memory?” by Mary Monroe, May 2005 IDEA Fitness Journal Jane Doe

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About the Author

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson IDEA Author/Presenter

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor.