I. Remembering names
We have all experienced the awkward moment of forgetting a name we should have remembered, in this article, we will go over five tips that will help you remember names more efficiently.
Memorizing names is a crucial aspect of a good memory, many of the most wealthy people in the world have acquired a habit of remembering people’s names, and you can learn this too; it is not as complicated as you think.
You just need to learn some simple tips and tricks that can be developed into habits.
Once you develop a good habit of remembering names, you will automatically allocate new names to memory. Mastering this skill will improve your personal and professional relationships.
This sounds obvious, but many people neglect to pay attention when hearing someone’s name, you will surely forget a name if you do not start with this simple principle.
In fact, none of the following tips will even matter if you do not start by paying attention. We have all been there; someone says their name, and we have almost instantly forgotten it.We are left wondering what their name was, and frustrated when we do not remember it.
We are left wondering what their name was, and frustrated when we do not remember it.
The problem in this situation is a lack of attention.
Paying attention to someone’s name is easier said than done, but if you get into the habit of paying attention to the moment the person presents themselves you will find it much natural to remember their name.
Repeat the name
We have already discussed that repetition helps us remember things, and the same goes for remembering names.
For example, you might reply, “Nice to meet you Alex,” that gives you a chance to rehearse that person’s name by repeating it.
One of the side benefits here is that you will find that people are more likely to pay attention to anything you have to say when you include their name in the conversation.
You may even repeat it again during the conversation, but you obviously don’t want to repeat it too often; otherwise you will come off as socially awkward.
Another way to get repetition is by quizzing yourself. When the person walks away, immediately question yourself to see if you can remember their name.Test yourself here and there throughout the day, and you will find that it gets easier each time because of the repetition, and the mental effort it takes to recall the name.
Test yourself here and there throughout the day, and you will find that it gets easier each time because of the repetition, and the mental effort it takes to recall the name.
When the person walks away, immediately question yourself to see if you can remember their name.
Make a connection to the name
You want to hook that name to something you already know. The way we learn new things is by associating new memories to those that already exist.You can make a connection to that person’s name by associating their name with someone you already know, or to someone that’s famous that has the same name.
You can make a connection to that person’s name by associating their name with someone you already know, or to someone that’s famous that has the same name.
Try to catch the following habit, when you hear someone’s name think to yourself, okay, John, same name as, and then think of a friend or celebrity you are familiar with, and try to imagine them standing next to that person.
Getting into this habit will help you connect the new name to someone you already know, and by picturing the celebrity or a friend of yours standing next to them, you are using visualization and location to remember that person’s name.
As we mentioned in earlier in our articles, human beings are exceptional at remembering visual information and location-based information.
Linking your first impression of the person to their name
Perhaps you noticed they are very energetic, or they are always smiling, find a way to combine your first impression to their name. An excellent way to do this is to come up with an adjective for the person.
What is the first thing you remark about this person? It could be their eyes, it could be their hair, their height, maybe it is their outfit. It could even be something about their personality. Perhaps you noticed they are very energetic, or they are always smiling, find a way to combine your first impression to their name. An excellent way to do this is to come up with an adjective for the person.
It could even be something about their personality. Perhaps you noticed they are very energetic, or they are always smiling, find a way to combine your first impression to their name.An excellent way to do this is to come up with an adjective for the person.
An excellent way to do this is to come up with an adjective for the person.
It could even be something about their personality. Perhaps you noticed they are very energetic, or they are always smiling, find a way to combine your first impression to their name.
For example, if a guy named Bob was wearing a blue tie, I might repeat to myself blue-tie Bob, blue-tie Bob.I am combining my first impression, the blue tie, and repeating it to remember the name, or if there’s someone named Alley and she comes off as very energetic, I will repeat to myself energetic Ally, energetic Ally.Again, I am linking something about them, my first impression, to their name and using repetition.
Again, I am linking something about them, my first impression, to their name and using repetition.
I am combining my first impression, the blue tie, and repeating it to remember the name, or if there’s someone named Alley and she comes off as very energetic, I will repeat to myself energetic Ally, energetic Ally.
Find a word that rhymes with their name
Advertisers know the power of a real rhyme; you probably know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.Rhymes are a part of the reason we remember songs, in extension to hearing them repetitively, if it rhymes it sticks.
Now I do realize that some names are very easy to rhyme like Bob job, Matt bat, Anne tan, but some names are difficult to rhyme like Anthony, now there’s probably a rhyme for it, but not one that comes immediately to mind, at least for me.What do we do then?
We try to implement one of the other strategies we have been talking about. Keep in mind that you do not have to use all of these tips at the same time. If you use one or a combination of them, you will usually be fine in remembering someone’s name.
If you use one or a combination of them, you will usually be fine in remembering someone’s name.
Now we have gone over five simple tips, but what if you forget to implement them?
Here are a few suggestions for backup plans.
One idea is always to keep records.
Carry a small notepad with you, and take note of the person’s name in there whenever it is appropriate to do so.
You might also want to take other notes about the person, such as where you met them, maybe something interesting about them, or a visual identifier like the color of their shirt, or if you do not want to take around an actual notepad just use your favorite note taking app on your phone.
You can refer to this physical or digital notebook as your backup plan in case you forget the name.
Here’s another backup plan, have a sidekick and work with them as a team.
Let’s say you are at a company party, a conference, or any other event, you are going there with a coworker, a friend, or maybe your significant other.
You know you will be presented to some people, and it might be difficult to memorize all their names, so you and your sidekick have to come up with a visual signal that means I forgot this person’s name.
This signal should be subtle, and it could be a quick rub of your eyes or a quick scratch off your ear.
Now when you get approached by what’s his name, you will immediately initiate the signal, which lets your sidekick know that you have forgotten the name of the person that you are talking to.
Your sidekick will then walk over, and instead of waiting for an introduction he or she takes the lead in the conversation and says, “Hi I am John,” to this person.”
Most people at this point will immediately respond with a, “Hi John, I am William.”
Now you know his name so try not to forget it, and if you use one or a combination of these tips we talked about I am pretty sure you will do a pretty good job at remembering names.
Like anything else this takes practice, the more you implement these tips, the more intuitive they become and the better you get.
II. Remembering presentations
Presentations can be learned by using some of the memory principles and techniques that we discussed in earlier articles. Before proceeding with this lesson, please make sure that you are familiar with all of the tips that we covered.
Before proceeding with this lesson, please make sure that you are familiar with all of the tips that we covered.
First off, do not ever try to memorize an entire presentation word for word, unless you are an actor you probably do not need to remember it verbatim.
Have you ever heard the expression, when you get caught up in details you lose sight of the big picture? This occurs when you try to remember each work in a particular order.
Rather, think of your presentation as a series of talking points you need to cover.
It is essential that you chunk that presentation into parts.
From there each subject has its associated subtopics.
We discussed in an earlier article that chunking information makes it easier to remember, well the same goes for presentations.
Chunking the presentation into parts makes it a lot simpler to recall.
Let’s say topic number two in your presentation is about the court system in the US, and how it is broken up into three parts, the federal courts or Supreme Court, the state courts and the local courts.
Here’s what you might do, you picture three swans.
One big swan, another medium sized swan, and a third smaller sized swan, these three birds will remind you to talk about the three courts in your presentation, and then you would continue going through each number and each associated topic.
The name of the game here is the association.
Another way you could remember the presentation could involve the use of a memory palace.
Your memory palace is a place that you are very familiar with like your home.
The place should have a series of locations where you can put things in a precise order.
You would put each topic in each place, but the important thing here is that you visualize some action in each spot that is a vivid piece of imagery that is exaggerated.
Let’s say you have a presentation on constitutional law, and topic number one is the founding fathers, you might picture yourself walking into your home, and all of the founders are gathered in your living room watching Netflix.
You then proceed to the second place of your home, which could be your kitchen. So now you have to discuss the court system in the US.
You might picture a judge in your kitchen pounding the gavel against the countertop, and of course, you proceed from there to location number three and topic number three, and you do the same thing, come up with an exaggerated image that will remind you of the subject you need to discuss.
You will want to rehearse these things a few times for the memories to stick.
Try it out next time you have to remember a presentation. I think you will find these methods to be pretty useful.
III. How to remember what you read
This three step strategy is called the multiple-reading process.It has a preview, an overview, and a read.
The preview is the first step where you read the introduction and conclusion to your text.
The overview is the second step where you read all the headings and bold-faced words or if you do not have headings, the first sentence of each paragraph.
This leads us naturally to our third and most important step, the read.
In other words, let’s read the material that we have been getting familiar with.
Think about the way most people read.
Many of them simply start from the beginning and read in a very narrow way all the way to the end.
However, you do not have to read all information this way.
In fact, reading this way is part of the reason why people read slowly.
If you do not know what to expect from the material, you are going to have to read it slower.
Imagine the alternative if you start by reading the intro and conclusion and then proceed to read all the headings or first sentences. Then think about the advantage that you have.
When you start reading the paper, you should naturally be able to go a little faster since you know what to expect.
Though, what about your comprehension? That too should be enhanced since you are already familiar with the material. Moreover, there’s a third area of reading that is crucial to us, our retention.
What you remember is largely a function of repetition. Look at all the repetition going on in this process. Those three steps are purposely set up to provide you with increased repetition during the reading process.
Most people read something from beginning to end, and they wonder why they forget everything the next day.
The answer has to do with repetition.
If you do not preview and overview the subject, then you have only had one repetition, and you are likely to forget much of what you read.
If you want to improve your memory of the topic even further, take notes while you are reading.
Note taking reinforces what you just read and is another form of repetition to help you encode memories even more deeply.
This three step multiple-reading process is an easy way to remember more of what you read.
IV. Remembering important dates
Memorizing important dates can be made easier by coming up with rhymes. One very famous rhyme you may already be familiar with is about the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492.
The verse goes like this, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Rhymes like this still require a little bit of rehearsing, but they make it easier to remember dates. Here are some other examples.
The year of the Boston Tea Party was 1773. You take the last part, 73, and try to rhyme it with something like heavenly tea. So notice how 73 and heavenly tea have a rhyming pattern.
You then build an image based on this. I am going to imagine tea falling from the heavens into the Boston Harbor.
Let’s take the 61 part, and 61 could rhyme with sticky gun.
Now, imagine a Civil War soldier struggling with a gun that is covered in honey, a sticky gun. So again, 61, sticky gun.
Little rhymes like this make it easier to remember dates.
Another way to deal with dates is by realizing that we learn in a variety of manners.
Some people are auditory learners.
If this is you, try reciting the date into a recorder and listening to it multiple times.
If you are a visual learner, draw your dates onto a timeline using pictures and bright colors.
These two methods, auditory, and visual learning, rely on repetition, which is always essential to remembering anything.
V. Remembering your to-do list
You can remember anything better by implementing mental pictures with exaggeration.
Earlier we went over the memory palace technique, this requires you to come up with a location you are familiar with, say for example your home, and then pick a logical order of sub-locations within that place.
For example, location number one in your home could be the front door, spot number two could be your hallway, location number three would be maybe the kitchen, and so on and so forth.
The location should be logical so that you could easily picture yourself walking through your home.
To use this system effectively you need to place what you need to remember at each location, so if item number one on your to-do list for today is to finish this course on memory, you would have to think of something that visually represents memory to you.
For example, a brain, and then picture it at location number one, the front door or whatever place number one happens to be in your memory palace.
Be sure to exaggerate these images, the easiest way to exaggerate anything is to make it enormous or minuscule, or make it do something impossible.
To remember that you need to finish this memory course, you might place a giant brain at the front door; maybe it is holding a memory device like a flash drive, and telling you not to forget to finish this memory course.
Then you would proceed to location number two, whatever that may be, and place the visual representation of your second to-do item in that area, and you continue doing this for your entire to-do list.
VI. Memorizing speeches or scripts word for word
Memorizing a speech or a script is a challenge, but it can be done, actors do this every time, so what’s their secret?
Tip number one you probably already know by now, repetition.
Repeat your lines again and again, over and over; this advice is simple, but it works.
Keep in mind that there are a variety of ways to get repetition, one way to do this is read your lines to yourself; another way is to read those lines out loud.
Once you have read the lines to yourself and out loud a few times you can then try to recite the first part of your script or presentation without looking at the words.
This will be hard at first, but each time you repeat you will get better.
This is sometimes called self-testing, and it is a very powerful way to remember things even though you will struggle at first.
Trying to rehearse it over and over again while making mistakes will help you improve faster than just reading the lines from the page over and over again.
At some point, you need to look away and quiz yourself.
Another way to get your repetition is to walk and talk.
There’s something about the light exercise of walking that will help you remember what you need to recite. In particular, if you are doing a presentation there’s a good chance you will be standing while explaining, so why not learn these lines while standing and walking around.
However, what else can we do to remember our lines? You can try chunking your lines into logical parts. You can try mastering one chunk of lines before moving on to the next chunk of lines.
As you may recall, chunking is a powerful memory principle, and you can use it to remember speeches and scripts too.
Here’s another thing you may find helpful, there’s some neuroscience on this topic that seems to indicate that taking naps can help you remember your lines better.
Finally, science proved that all that sleeping helps you study!
I know this might sound counterintuitive, but here’s how it works.
You work on memorizing a section of lines, and then immediately take a nap.
When you fall asleep, your brain processes short term memories, in this case, your lines, and those memories get transferred into another part of your brain called the neocortex, which is better for longer term recall.
Although it might sound strange that taking naps could help you remember things, a great bunch of research is showing that sleep helps your brain organize and remember information more effectively.
Now whenever I mention this tip, I get many people that tell me they are worried that if they try taking a power nap for 20-30 minutes, it will end up being a three or four-hour nap.
If you are concerned about this, try drinking some coffee first, and then immediately taking your power nap.
It takes about half an hour for your body to get the full effect of caffeine, by then it will be easy to rise from your quick memory boosting nap.
You can also try combining some of the tips mentioned here with the memory palace technique we have discussed.
When reciting your lines your mind will mentally walk through your home, and you will find it easier to recall the information word for word.
Again, like all memory strategies, this one requires repetition, and should include exaggeration wherever possible.
How much time should it take to memorize a script or a speech word for word? This number can vary, but most experienced actors can remember a six-page script in about an hour.
A six-page text, by the way, is usually equivalent to a scene that’s about six minutes in length, so if you can memorize a six-minute talk in about an hour, you are doing pretty well since this is something actors can do.
You can use this as a benchmark for your progress, but keep in mind that memorizing a speech or script word for word is no easy task, but you can simplify it by implementing the tips we talked about in this articles.
Hope you find this article useful, as it is the last one out of this three posts series of improving your memory. If you want to check again the first two articles you can find them here:
Don’t forget to share them with your friends, and let us know what you think about them in the comment section!