Remember Names

Remembering Names Through NLP

by Kris Hallbom

When was the last time you saw someone whose name you should have remembered? They knew you and called you by name. But you had no idea what their name was. Imagine how wonderful it would be if you could always remember a person’s name after you met them. It would certainly save you from future embarrassment.

Here is a practical way of remembering names. Using this NLP name strategy, you can learn and remember the names of 70 or more people in less than 30 minutes. Tim Hallbom, and NLP trainer, author and therapist, demonstrates this in his NLP training’s. At the beginning of each training, he has his students introduce themselves and afterwards they can recall everyone’s name back, one by one.

Not only are the student’s names installed into each other’s short term memories, but in their long term memories as well. If you meet a person just once, you can usually remember their name for at a long time by using this strategy.

Tim, and another NLP trainer, Suzi Smith, developed this name strategy by studying the thinking processes of people who remembered names well. Franklin D. Roosevelt, one of the people they studied, was a master at recalling names. He continually amazed his staff by remembering someone’s name that he had only met once, months before. Asked how he did it, he said he saw the person’s name written out on their forehead.

Tim now teaches an expanded version of Roosevelt’s name strategy in his NLP trainings. The name strategy that he co-developed is based on the way people learn and recall information, which is through the three primary senses of sight, sound and touch.

“One of the things that brain researchers have discovered in the last few years is that your internal dialogue occupies the same auditory nerve in your ear as external sound,” said Tim.

“The reason why people forget names is because they’re usually involved in some other auditory, internal conversation. So, it’s really hard to hear the other person saying their name when you’re having an internal conversation with yourself about how you’re coming across or what you’re going to say next,” he said.

  • In remembering names, the first thing that Tim recommends is to concentrate on staying external with the person by listening to them. Then repeat their name to yourself three times while you’re looking at them.
  • To get the visual part in, imagine that you can see their name written on their forehead. To make it more permanent, see their name in your favorite color of magic marker. This will make it stick out all the better. Do this while you’re saying their name to yourself.
  • The third way to remember a person’s name is through the kinesthetic sense of “touch”. You can code this in by letting your finger imagine what it would be like to write the person’s name as you’re seeing it and saying it to yourself. You can also move your finger in little micro-muscle movements as if you were actually writing their name. This will code their name into your neurology at a more deeper level.

If you use this process with everyone you meet, pretty soon it will become an automatic part of who you are and you’ll just do it unconsciously whenever you meet someone new, according to Tim.

This name strategy also comes in handy when you meet a large group of people for the first time. The process that Tim uses to remember large groups of names is called “chunking”, which is the art of breaking down information into smaller pieces.

Most people learn information by chunking it down. Think about your social security number. That’s nine pieces of information broken down into three small chunks. Telephone numbers are the same way, you remember them by breaking them down into two chunks of numbers.

When it comes to remembering large groups of people, Tim chunks everyone’s name into groups of five. You can do this by having the five people say their names to you and then repeat their names back as you code each one of them into your memory through your three primary senses of sound, sight and touch.

People are always asking Tim how come he can remember so many names. The reason is rather simple, he’s had a lot of practice. The NLP trainer encourages his students to practice this memory technique as often as possible.

In reality, anyone can do this process. If it’s done the way that Tim teaches it, you’ll find that you can remember a large group of people’s names with ease, and you’ll be able to remember people’s names forever.

Kris Johnson Hallbom is a professional writer and a long time student of NLP and Systems Theory. She is also co-director of the NLP Institute of California.