How To Remember Names & Faces

Isn’t it frustrating when you grapple with remembering people’s names even after meeting them more than once or meeting them just 5 minutes before? Don’t worry; you’re not alone.

Most people usually struggle to put names to faces because, according to research, names do not have meaning behind them. People’s names do not give us an associated mental image, unlike names for something such as “water” or “paper”.

People’s jobs are much simpler to remember. A 1987 research published in the British Journal of Psychology titled ‘Putting Names to Faces’, discovered this to be true even with vague labels that could be used as names or as jobs. It is much more difficult to recall that a person’s surname that is Baker than to recall the profession of a person that is a baker.

This illustrates why we can remember meeting someone and where they work, but can’t for the life of us recall their name. Sadly, being able to correctly remember people’s names is vital for building relationships in business, especially in that awkward situation where you are expected to introduce someone to someone else.

The great news is that there is a number of scientifically proven methods to remember names and faces.

“When you remember someone’s name, it shows them that you care. Also, in business, making a great first impression is critical,” says Sancy Suraj, two times world memory record holder.


Most people do not remember a name because they are not paying attention when their name is given to them. This is the reason why you forget a name immediately after some gave it to you. The first and most important step is to make sure you pay attention to hear the name.


Immediately repeat the name as soon it is given to you. There are two reasons for doing this. The first is to make sure you get the pronunciation right. The second reason is to store their name in your short-term memory so that you can be prepared to create an association.


The key here is to link the name to the face. To do this, turn the name into an image and link it to the face. For example, if I meet someone named Paul, I will imagine this new Paul having a beer with my dad. Why? Because my dad’s name is Paul. If I meet someone name Serena, I will visualise her playing tennis with Serena Williams.

For a name like Lico, I would imagine him licking a can of coke. You get the picture, don’t you? To get good at this technique, you need to practice. There are no two ways around it. Moving forward, always be sure to pay attention, repeat the name and create an association.

Sancy Suraj. Sancy Suraj Singh. Memory Athlete. Singapore Memory Athlete. Sancy Suraj. Sancy Suraj Singh from Singapore. Mr.Sancy.