As a Mentalist I often have to memorize incredible amounts of data, in very little time. The good news is that I have the tools (soon you will too) and ability to do so. The number one complaint I hear from people is that they can’t remember peoples names. This is extremely frustrating and to be honest names were the hardest thing for me to remember as well. I could remember a 50 digit number in seconds, yet instantly forget the name of the person who gave me the number.
Needless to say I don’t have that issue anymore and there are some powerful techniques you can use to also memorize every name, of everyone you meet. Benjamin Levy, author of Remember Every Name Every Time, advocates the FACE method: “focus, ask, comment and employ.” I use this in conjunction with a ‘Mnemonic’ system (described later) to great ends. Yet this system is extremely powerful on its own.
Focus: Lock in on the person’s face. Really burn it in.
Ask: Inquire which version he prefers (“Is it Joe or Joseph?”). Perhaps have them repeat it.
Comment: Say something about the name and cross-reference it in your head (“My best friend from school was Joe.”)
Employ: Put the name to use – In the conversation like “I never knew that, Joe!” and recap at the end “Wonderful seeing you, Joe” to drive it home.
Mnemonics and Names.
The word mnemonic is derived from the Ancient Greek word μνημονικός (mnēmonikos), meaning “of memory” and is related to Mnemosyne (“remembrance”), the name of the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. Both of these words are derived from μνήμη (mnēmē), “remembrance, memory”. Mnemonics in antiquity were most often considered in the context of what is today known as the Art of Memory. Here is a brief summary of the art of using Mnemonics to store and recall names.
Invent a relationship between the name and the physical characteristics of the person. Basically, you have to create a clear ‘image’ for the name, then attach it to some very noticeable feature about this person. Let us say the name is bob.
Convert Name to Image: i.e. Bob rhymes with knob so you visualize a knob. For now you can use a word that rhyms or find another association to make, rendering the name to a simple imagine. In a coming post on “Phonetic Encoding” you will learn strange new ways to do this.
Attach to Feature: If Bob’s nose stands out, literally see him with a ‘knob’ in place of his ‘nose.’
Visualize: You must make your connections as silly as possible. The more ridiculous, the more memorable.
The next time you see this man his nose will strike you, you will instantly see that knob on his face and his name will be delivered to your mouth rather nicely. The feature can also be external. A hat someone was wearing, the horrendous ring she was wearing or the striking type of shoe this person wears.
That’s all for now. Go remember someone.