How to Remember Things (like Names) We Tend to Forget

Ever meet someone and right after you shake hand you are wondering what their name was?  Or get down the street and wonder if you locked your house door or closed the windows or turned off some appliance?

Over time there have been many tricks, strategies and systems for remembering names, etc.  However, I have always found them to be cumbersome.  Like memory hooks – a list of pictures and corresponding words to remember a list of things.  For the life of me, I don’t remember the hooks.  What is the point of remember a set of hooks and then a list of things on top of it?  It seems rather complicated.

Or how about associating something about a person that rhymes with their name?  I’m so busy trying to find something that rhymes with their name that I forget the name. 

I know I’m being a little silly here but systems for me only work if I take time to make the system automatic.  When you are meeting a number of people, this doesn’t seem convenient.  I’ve seen people as a demonstration meet 50 people and remember all of their names.  Very impressive.  It is for a demonstration. 

So here has what has worked for me over the years for remembering things….

BEING PRESENT!  This means I stop all of the noise inside my head and shut out the noise in the room, look the person in the eye as hear clearly as they say their name.  It goes right in.  Then I say the name back to them. If we have a conversation, I’ll repeat their name to them several times.  I seldom forget it after that.  To describe what happens, it is like I take a breath as they say the name as if I’m slowing or stopping everything except for the sound of the name.  Most of the time we don’t remember a name because as the person is saying it, we are someplace else.  We are distracted or uninterested.  I put all of my attention on the other person. It only takes a second.

Remember if you did something before you leave somewhere or took care of something…

Locking the door or some other task: look at the lock, feel the key in your hand, see the key going into the door and turning, hear the lock click and say to yourself, “I am locking  the door.”  I never have to go back to check.  If I have to revisit to make sure, I do it in my mind because the picture is already there. I never have to turn around and go home to check.

Step by step:

$11.      See first what you are doing or who you are with

$12.      Feel the key, handshake, etc.

$13.      Hear the noise it makes or sound of the name.

$14.      Say to yourself, “I am doing this” or “Bill”  while you see and feel.

List of things: I write it down a list. Then my mind is not cluttered with a list of things.