Tips for Remembering Names… and a House Bunny Reference

  • December 8, 2010
  • Helen Murphy

Blair and I were discussing remembering names the other day.  The truth of the matter is, I suck at it. When I am introduced to anyone new, whether it is at a networking event, party or family gathering, names usually go in one ear and right out the other.

When Blair and I were having this discussion, she mentioned a scene from the movie House Bunny (rumored to be Blair’s favorite movie) where the main character repeats names in an exorcist-like voice in order to remember them. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, a clip can be seen here.  Although the House Bunny’s solution is not plausible for a work environment, there are a number of other tricks you can use to help commit names to memory.  Here are a few I picked up from an Austin Young Chamber of Commerce event I attended earlier this year.

Repeat: “Nice to meet you Jen.” “Jen, what do you do for a living.” “Where did you get that lovely brooch, Jen?” When you hear a name, one of the best ways to remember it is to keep using it. I remember learning in a college psychology class that you need to hear something at least three times before it is committed to memory.
Name Association: Bucktoothed Becky. Freckly Fran. Hunchback Heather.  On the few occasions I remember names, it is usually because of name association.  Example, I use Disco Derrick for a friend with super curly, afro-like hair.  Works like a charm. Now all I have to do is avoid the “disco” part when speaking to him.
Concentrate: So simple a solution and yet this is usually my downfall.  When you meet someone new, pay attention, concentrate and make a conscious decision to remember that person’s name.

Remembering a person’s name is the first step in building a relationship.  Forgetting a name is a good way to embarrass yourself … so is this.