Names and faces are among the hardest things to remember. Sometimes we just forget them; other times we’re just not paying enough attention when we are introduced to someone. US memory champion Nelson Dellis offers a simple, yet effective trick for remembering names and faces better: Use your own visual hooks.
The technique is one Nelson taught me during my memory training boot camp. Once you learn it, I can say with certainty that if you apply this trick, you’ll remember many more faces and names — and retain them longer than you might normally expect to.
Besides getting the person’s name (and actually paying attention when he/she gives it), there are three main steps:
- Find the most prominent part of the person’s face (a mole, large nose, thin eyebrows, pointy ears, or whatever else strikes you the most).
- Turn the abstract name into an image (for example, Amy = a sniper aiming).
- Attach the image to that anchor on the person’s face (for example, a sniper aiming at thin eyebrows).
Nelson offers a bunch of examples in the video above and I gave a few in my memory brain training article. The more exaggerated the images you can make, the better. The more you practise (such as with this awesome name remembering game), the better you’ll become at remembering the names of everyone you meet.