Remember My Name, No Wait. Remember Your Name

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Post By Anna Thiele, Deliberate Directions Leadership Strategist

Anna focuses on writing website content and hosting a “Leadership, No Homework” book club. Anna received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication, with a certificate in Leadership and Human Resources, from Boise State University. In her spare time, Anna enjoys rock climbing, traveling, music, and the Enneagram.

No matter how good you are, name’s are hard. Wait, was it Nancy or Drew? Oh my. And don’t get me started on the mom’s that spent their entire pregnancy on Pinterest pinning ‘creative’ names on a baby board and thought Allison would be much cuter as Alisoun.

It is awkward enough to have just introduced yourself, left the meeting, and arrive again the next week to introduce yourself without realizing you’re talking to the same person. Much less have to ask several times for the person to repeat their name.

You have got two honest options here; preface every meeting with ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ or begin practicing different ways to stay engaged and build face to name recognition.

Lucky for you, I have five tips, five games, and five books for the latter option right here.

Look no further, read on for ways to improve your skills in name recognition and memory.


This is by far the most stated way of remembering names from my colleagues. After someone states their name, you simply say it back to them.

For this example: repeat their name to them to acknowledge you heard, and then to yourself repeat their name five times, each in a different accent.


Oftentimes though, even repeating a name can prove to not be helpful. My next tip is to clear your mind of anything else for 30 seconds. Really think about the name they just shared with you. Focus on if they have shortened their name, or kept it long. Or, if they say their name with a certain accent or pronunciation of the vowels.

For example: Allison, as her business card reads, introduced herself as Ali. Interesting. Ali is Allison. No accent, slight east coast pronunciation.


As you think of their name, think about their appearances, their job, their car, the weather outside. Anything that can help you associate that person with their name.

For example: Alli walks in and is very happy. I recognize that it is Alli because of her undeniable cheer. Alli has cheer and is my boss. I can’t forget my boss’ name. Alli = boss.


While in this 30 second space, you may also want to try and connect their name to other people or stories you may know.

For example: The woman you meet is named Allison. Like, Allison in Wonderland; such a fun story. Or Alisoun, like your childhood friend.


Another helpful tip is to spell it out. Take note of how you learn (visual, audio, or kinesthetic) and determine the best way to spell it, either in your head or on paper. Then, spending a little extra time because you really want it to stick, spell their name out backwards.

For example: You notice you need a stretch break and learn best kinesthetically, so instead of throwing your hands into a YMCA motion, you choose instead to try ALLI. Then, you do it backwards, ILLA.

Games and Books


With a deck of cards

Phone App

Board Games



Thank you for reading and all the well wishes to you on your name recognition journey.

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