EPISODES 4, NAME MAGNET - why names matter at work and how to remember them


“Hi! Um, er, sorry I forgot your name. I’m really bad at names! Who isn’t?”

It turns out most people are poor at remembering names.

It’s not surprising since names are just a bunch of arbitrary words and letters. In isolation with nothing around them to make them memorable, why should you recall them?

Haven’t you had that experience who someone tells you their name and half a minute later you can’t remember it? Embarrassing!

Yet you’ve heard so many timers, that it’s essential to recall peoples’ names. Multiply this by ten when it comes to success at work. So why does it matter so much?

Well, most of us cherish our name. Even when we deny doing so. Our name is part of who we are and when somewhat doesn’t remember it, we may feel they are unfriendly, even careless. And that’s a bad formular for success at work.

Using someone’s name at work can therefore suggest you’re dependable, likeable, and influential.

Hearing their name, the other person feels more comfortable around you. The result is they become easier to work with.

As you might guess, forgetting names does the reverse. It reduces your impact without you realising it. Your failure may leave them feeling slighted and unimportant to you.

All the experts on this common failing to recall names, seem to say that remembering them is easy.

Well don’t believe ‘em. If it was, you’d already be doing it and wouldn’t be listening to this now would you?

So, let’s make one giant leap for name forgetters by understanding what must happen if those elusive names are to firmly stored and ready to use when you need them.

Five things need to occur for you to become a name magnet. That’s someone who readily recalls names for the benefit of your personal growth and possible success.

The five essentials of name recall are: wanting, repetition, visualisation, re-enforcement, and usage

First is wanting. There the experts are right. If don’t want to recall a name, you certainly won’t and it’s a lost cause.

Second embrace repetition. The moment you hear someone’s name quickly repeat it back to them. No matter how awkward that may sound, DO IT!

Make it habit to say the person’s name at least three times during your encounter. Even when it sounds a bit forced, remember the other person feels warmed at hearing their name and certainly won’t object.

Next is visualisation. You may not be a particularly visual person, but don’t let that deter you. Start with the context. Is there anything memorable about where you are when you hear the name? Then no matter how crazy, rude, or extreme create a mental image of this person and their name.

For example, find something about the person that you can exaggerate or mess with. In your mind you might turn their messy hair bright blue and flashing lights, while mentally saying their name: “John with the blue hair that shines in the dark who I met at the recent team meeting”.

Or suppose you find their voice a bit harsh. You might create a mental picture of an enormous black crow croaking their name aloud and doing it in the context of where you hear it, The crazier the image the better.

Having done at least something towards remembering the person’s name isn’t that enough?

Not quite. Now you need to re-enforce the learning by returning to it before the end of the day. In your mind you go back over the encounter and reproduce in your mind the visualisation. You might even write down the name and a note of the image.

Next comes reinforcement. To become a name magnet, you return to the name and its mental picture at ever lengthening intervals, daily, weekly, monthly. Sounds a pain?

Whoever said this name thing was going to be easy, they were clearly wrong? But then success always takes some effort. Being a name magnet can pay dividends in terms of gaining a steady career boost.


• Take recalling names seriously; make it into a habit, understand the key stages of remembering.

• Use repetition and focusing on a particular feature of a new person to fix the name and context

• Try linking connecting the new name or face with a strong, even strange visual image.


There are valuable ways to recall names, but first to commit to learning a particular name; recalling names at work can prove vital for your success.