This is something I’ve done before. I’ll admit it. It’s probably more popular than meeting a new person, exchanging names, and immediately forgetting theirs, forcing you to swallow your pride and inquire again, or languish in confusion forever, according to a good friend. But why?
The easiest answer is that you are simply uninterested. People who are inspired to learn are better at recalling information. Sometimes you’re inspired to learn people’s names, and other times it’s more of a whim, and you don’t think it’s important at the time.
This isn’t always the case, however. You always try to remember something but end up forgetting it anyway. This may be because you underestimate how much effort it takes to remember something as easy as a name.
A common name may be forgotten because it is uninteresting to you or because you already know other people with that name. A uncommon name, on the other hand, can be easy to remember but difficult to recall. And every name, well-known or not, has to compete for space in your overburdened mind. Given all of these considerations, securing a name requires more work than you would expect.
This group includes people who are distracted by making a successful first impression or maintaining a conversation. You can forget to file away the information you just learned because you are concentrating your attention elsewhere, and then fail to mentally return to that part of the interaction.
So how could you remember better?
You must, however, pay attention. We’ve all had the experience of being introduced to someone and promptly forgetting their name. You have no chance of remembering someone’s name if you don’t pay attention to what they’re saying as they send it to you.
Finding a way to connect people’s names to something else about them their height, hair, smile, is critical. When you learn knowledge that is intertwined with other knowledge, your memory for information improves. Consider how the name relates to other information you’ve heard about the individual as well as their appearance. That way, you’ll remember the person’s name if you run into them again or think of something you know about them.
Finding opportunities to put yourself to the test when the discussion is going on can also be beneficial. Take down the person’s name as soon as they say it, and then test yourself a few minutes, if not seconds later. Attempt to remember the details as soon as possible after learning it. The act of putting yourself to the test on the name will make you remember it better in the long run.
You can also find a justification to use the person’s name soon after hearing it as part of this procedure. The generation effect is a memory phenomenon in which knowledge that you create about yourself is remembered better than information that you hear or read, according to memory psychology. If you can think of a reason to use someone’s name, it will help you remember it. Of course, you’ll have to do something a little awkward since you don’t normally use someone’s name while they’re standing right in front of you, but even a simple “Nice to meet you” would suffice.
Remember that if you forget the name of someone you just met, there’s a fair chance they’ve forgotten yours as well. But it’s perfectly acceptable to tell someone you’ve forgotten their name and ask them to repeat it. Indeed, the other person will be relieved that you inquired, and they will most likely want you to repeat yours.
Check out my related post: Does your name say it all?