How to Memorize: Photographic Memory

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How to Remember Names

Quick Notes - Remembering Names:
  • Repeat the name immediately after it is introduced. "Cindy, it's very nice to meet you!"
  • Associate their name by sound or spelling to an image.
  • Then associate this image to their facial features or something that noticably sticks out about them.

Are you one of those people that forgets other peoples names as soon as you meet them? Remembering names can be very difficult because normally a persons name does not have any meaning or significance that allows you to remember it.

Remembering people's names is one of the most requested memory training techniques I teach people. Although it is very easy to remember a persons name, it does require some practice in real situations. Remembering a name when you are by yourself is a much different environment then being out at a party. After this lesson, and with a little bit of real life practice, you will be able to remember a roomful of names in minutes.

Memorizing Peoples Names

The trick to remembering names is changing the name into a picture, then linking that picture to the persons face. With this memory technique you will be able to remember a group of names in a short period of time and be able to recall their name instantly whenever you meet them again. Let's start with an example for practice: I am going to give the names of 5 people I met this weekend. Each of these persons names were immediately burnt into my long term memory upon meeting them. Alisha, Nicole, Cindy, Robert, and Jonathan. For each of these individual names I created an image and then linked that image to the person.

When meeting someone for the first time, it is important that you say their name right off the bat, i.e "Alisha, it's nice to meet you". This is proper not only so you make sure that you heard their name right but that you can repeat the name for memorization purposes. While repeating their name, create an image for that name. Meeting Alisha for the first time I immediately imagined "A leech replacing her eyebrows". She no longer had eyebrows on her face but two big black leeches (blood suckers) above each of her eyes. "A leech" sounds a lot like "Alisha" without the "a". Your true memory will tell you that her name is obviously not "A leech" but "Alisha". Another image that you might make from this name is "A leash", and you might picture her walking around on all fours with a leash around her neck. Be sure to picture the image in your mind (even only for a second), or you can easily forget it. If you can picture this image in your mind, you will never forget it - even if you try!

Here is how the next few names were remembered:

Nicole = "Saint Nick (Nic = Santa Clause) delivering me a bag of "Cole" (Coal).

Cindy = "Pictured this girl with devil horns because she Sin's too much (Sin rhythms with Cin).

Robert = "Imagined Robert 'robbing' me, his scruffy face resembled my depiction of a 'robber'".

Jonathan = "The term 'jon' also refers to a "toilet or restroom'. Picture Jon with a roll of toilet paper hanging from his chin or ears."

Most times, the longer or less common the name, the easier it is to remember because you can create a more graphic or outrageous picture. For best results, whatever the image is that you create for their name, try to relate it to their facial features. For example if the person has a big nose or ears, somehow relate that image you created for their name to these features. Example: If Johnathan (from the example above) had a large nose, I might have imagined a roll of toilet paper and his nose as the holder. Memorizing a full name (first and last name) can be even easier. In this case you can link the first name with the last name, then link this image to a facial feature if possible. Remembering a first and last name normally creates a more elaborate and outrageous picture, hence making it easier to remember.