The simplest and perhaps most valuable memory exercises rely on the fact that the more senses you use when you want to remember something and the stronger your focus on using these senses the stronger will be the memory!
The real secret to supporting your memory to do its job really well is to get all your senses involved. The more you use a mix of your eyes, ears and sense of touch when getting to know someone and the more you relate these perceptions to their name the better the memory of their name.
The first simple memory exercise to adopt to better remember people’s names I call ‘Controlled Attention’. To use this you must begin, when meeting someone for the first time, by appreciating exactly what it is you are going to take notice of. That is to say you must become far more aware of your perceptions of the person you are meeting.
Lets take an example to clarify this. If you typically forget people’s names soon after meeting them then it’s most probably because you easily get detracted or you do not place much importance on the name or on remembering it. Using controlled attention you simply say to yourself, I am going to remember this person’s name and then you pay more attention when being presented to someone by name. So how exactly do you do this?
Here is a very simple but highly effective memory exercise for you. When you meet someone and you hear their name for the first time. Stop, tell yourself I want to remember their name. Then get yourself focused, look at them and do a ‘fast take’. Notice what they’re wearing, what’s distinctive about them. Look at the colour of their hair and skin. Take an interest in them. by asking questions and then actively listen. Ask them about where they were born, what are their interests, do they have children etc. etc. Every situation will be different with its own scope to ask relevant questions.
Now don’t get worried! Remember people love to talk about their favorite subject, its themselves, so its not going to be difficult. Ask how their name is spelt, then take notice of it. Make interesting, vivid, even exaggerated, associations with it. Tie the name in with what the person is wearing and any distinctive personal attributes you’ve identified such as are they fat, thin, nice perfumed, freckly or what?.
- gaining success with memory exercises comes down to five factors:
- the intensity of your attention on the person
- your level of creativity in developing mental associations using all your senses
- taking a real interest in the person when you meet
- actively engaging with them by helping them to come alive in your mind’s eye
If you start to use these memory tips then your name recall will blossom. Guaranteed!