At one time or another, you’ve probably forgotten someone’s name immediately after they introduced themselves. You can always ask someone else to remind you what it was later, or even do a little social media sleuthing to find the mystery person’s profiles through mutual friends. Having said that, you don’t always realize you’ve even forgotten the person’s name until the next time they’re standing right in front of you.
All things considered, the best time to commit a moniker to memory is the first time you hear it. To keep it from slipping away, Lifehacker has a simple trick: Right after someone—say, Peter—says his name, start soundlessly chanting it in your mind. Even though he’s only said it once, you’ll “hear” it dozens of times, and the repetition will give you a chance to really connect his face to his name.
As Peter continues talking, you’ll be able to pick up information beyond his appearance that you can attach to his name. By the end of the conversation, the name that began as a one-word chant with no context will become a multi-dimensional person who enjoys collecting records and watching World War II epics. In other words: It’s much harder to forget a name if it isn’t just a name.
Another tip is to make the conversation about the person’s name. Since they’ve just introduced themselves, it might be the only opportunity you’ll have to talk about their name without it seeming out of the blue. An easy way to do this is to ask them about spelling, particularly if it’s a name you don’t recognize, or a name with multiple spellings, like Katherine or Hailey.
And, even if you’re not directly talking about a person's name, you can still say it aloud once or twice. After Peter introduces himself, say “Nice to meet you, Peter,” and at the end of the conversation, part ways with a “Great talking with you, Peter!” or something similar.
Above all, if you know you’re about to meet someone, you should decide that your primary goal for the conversation is to remember their name. Hoping to also make a good first impression? Here are some scientific ways to do that, too.