Three tips for remembering names at this year’s holiday party

Nelson Dellis


Published on

15 December 2016


How often do you find yourself forgetting the names of people you meet? Frustrating and embarrassing, right?

As the year winds down, there’s no doubt that you’ll be attending several holiday parties. And, any type of party or social event means that you will likely meet new people. Whether it is a work event or a friend’s get-together, you’ll want to be on top of your name-remembering game. 

As a memory expert, how to remember names is one of the most frequently asked memory questions I hear. Turn yourself into a name-remembering machine with these three tips – your brain will thank you.

Tip no. 1: Be present

Resist the urge to let your mind wander when you meet someone new. It seems simple, but can be difficult at times – especially with the hustle and bustle of a busy room. Be present while you learn the name of the person you’re meeting. Specifically, focus on their name. I find that repeating the following mantra mentally helps to say focused: “What is this person’s name?”

Focusing while learning someone’s name is a simple and easy game changer when it comes to memorizing names.

Tip no. 2: Feed your brain

A large part of having a healthy memory comes from how you feed your brain. You are what you eat, and that applies to your brain health as well. For example, eat healthy fats, including DHA omega-3, to help support the health of your brain. This specific omega-3 is traditionally found in fatty fish – such as salmon, mackerel and herring. If you follow a vegetarian diet or do not eat fish, you can find DHA omega-3 supplements from algae. Look for the life’sDHA logo on the label.

Tip no. 3: Make associations

To help increase the stickiness factor of names, make some associations. Association is the process of taking something you don’t know (i.e., a name) and relating it to something you already know. So, when meeting someone, take their name and try to make a visual association to something you already know in your mind. The weirder the better!

If their name is Brian, come up with a story about the person that relates them to an image of a brain (Brian = brain; close enough, right?).

If their name is Ryan, try envisioning them in a scene involving a frying pan (Ryan = frying).

Or how about Nelson? Why not imagine a story about the person relating them somehow to Nelson Mandela.

So there you have it: three easy tips to keep your mind sharp during the holidays. Everyone loves hearing the sound of their own name, so remember their name to give them a gift that keeps on giving!

Happy holidays!

Read more about our expert Nelson Dellis, 4x USA Memory Champion and author

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