Unforgettable Techniques to Help You Remember Names

Today we welcomed Bill Clennan, the Memory Man. Bill is a professional speaker who has given presentations at over 10,000 events and been inducted into the Speakers’ Hall of Fame. In his career, he has helped over one million people improve their memory.

marylynnOne of my weaknesses is remembering names. How can I get better at it?


billPeople don’t remember names because they don’t think they can. It’s almost impossible to do something if you don’t think you can.


marylynnSo we have to spin it around and start thinking that we can remember names.

billExactly. In fact, what I tell people is … decide that you’ll remember 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time.


georgeHow do you suggest we do that … is repeating it back the best way?


billI never suggest to people to repeat it back. If we meet someone who uses our name over and over, we start wishing they would back off. But here’s the good news – just by thinking of the sound of somebody’s name, that part of your brain shows increased activity. To your brain, thinking about that sound is the same as saying it. I’m emphasizing the sound because when we meet people, we hear their name … we don’t see it. That’s one of the things that makes remembering names rather difficult.

The fusion technique – fuse the face with the name

billAt the moment I hear a person’s name, I look at their face. So I take that information along with the sound of their name and, just for a moment, I bring them together. I connect the two things. So when I see their face again, there’s a place in the brain where those two things originally came together. The next easiest thing … I might say to myself, “Tryin’ Brian”, “Shirley Girly”, “Silly Billy”, “Fancy Nancy”, “Slim Jim”, or “Georgie Porgie”.

georgeThere you go – except I’ve figured it out. Mary-Lynn’s been using this fusion technique for years because she always calls me “Georgeous”! I think I like that better than “Georgie Porgie”!


billFor a huge portion of the history of our species, we did not have the written word. Information was passed along in rhythm, rhyming, chant, and dance. So why not use that technique?


“Syllable-ize” – break the name into sounds

billWhen you meet someone who has a multi-syllabic name, break it into sounds. I met someone named “Ken Oracheski”. So I just pictured him with an oar stuck through his chest and he was on skis.

The rhythm method

billI met a guy in Honolulu whose name is “Takabayashi”. The very moment I heard his name, I went “talk-a-bye ashi in the tree top, when the wind blows …” When you tie things together in sound, get the first part the rest of it comes along for free. So listen for the rhythm. This is one of the clues if you have to meet four or five people in a hurry. Tie them together in sound and you’ll remember the whole string of names. I call it the rhythm method. It’s especially for Catholic folks!

georgeI was going to say that I’d heard of the rhythm method, but it didn’t have anything to do with remembering names?


billYeah, but this one works better!


Bill’s links

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By Bigg Success Staff

Bigg Book Review 

Jim Bouchard earned a black belt in karate. Along the way, he learned that he found great joy in teaching others. As an instructor, he earned his way into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

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He delivers all this in his powerful, practical book Dynamic Components of Personal Power. Success the Black Belt Way.  He offers a step-by-step guide to find, understand, and harness the power within you to build the life you want.

You have the power! You just need to discover it and use it. His advice is down-to-earth and actionable. You’ll come away inspired and ready to take charge of your life harnessing the tools Jim provides.

We highly recommend this book!

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