When you meet people, especially a lot of people at once like a new workplace, it can be hard to remember their names at first. Here’s an easy exercise that will help you to retain this information.
According to Charan Ranganath, the director of the Memory and Plasticity Program at the University of California, Davis, the simplest explanation as to why you forget is just that you aren’t all that interested. He spoke to Time about the issue in a story published this week.
You don’t know that the person you’ve just met is potentially your new best friend. Instead, right now they’re someone that you might not ever meet again after this interaction. Why waste valuable brain space remembering their name?
If you’re having trouble remembering someone’s name, Ranganath suggests trying a mnemonic device to help you remember. So, you might remember Walter as “Walter the Writer” or “Bob the Beatboxer”.
When you can associate someone’s name with something else, then it will be easier for you to recall that name later on, and you’ll trick your brain. He also recommends testing yourself on the name a few seconds into the conversation and a few minutes in, and trying to use that person’s name in conversation a few times to help the same stick.
And if all else fails, you can always ask the person for their name again down the line.