Learning to remember names

I start a job in a new school next year and that means I will need to learn lots of new names. Learning names is not something I’m naturally talented at, but I’m sure it’s a skill I can learn with practice. So that’s what I’m going to do. Practice. I’m setting myself a personal challenge to learn the names of everyone I meet, the first time I meet them.

How will I learn new names when I’ve never been good at this? Well first of all I don’t expect that I will learn every name straight away, but by conciously practising I hope to improve significantly. It’s helpful to have a goal to motivate myself. There’s nothing wrong with aiming high!

I have done some research into techniques for learning names, here is my plan:

  1. Ask everyone I meet what they want to be called. Check that I have the pronunciation right. I can’t learn something I never knew!
  2. Use their name. “Nice to meet you Alice, are you in town for long?”
  3. Not be afraid to make a mistake. I’ll use someone’s name even if I’m not totally sure I’m pronouncing it right. I can always check with them, or they can correct me. In the past I often avoided using someone’s name for fear of getting it wrong, but that meant I didn’t practice and so I would forget.
  4. Think of something to jog my memory, e.g. they have the same name as someone else I know or the first letter of their name is also the first letter of an animal or colour.

Are you good at remembering names? Please share your tips in the comments.

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