So far we’ve been talking about visual memory techniques for memorizing lists of objects, but there are so much more these techniques can do.
The Name Face Method’s purpose is to, you guessed it, remember people’s names.
I feel as if I’ve become a professional at getting people’s names without them knowing I don’t know theirs.
There’s the ‘let me see your ID, I’ve never seen a *insert location here* ID before technique.
There’s the ‘hey do you have Facebook? Here add yourself it’s easier because I can’t spell’ method.
No more awkward conversations with someone you recognize who knows your name while you have to use generic language to make it seem as if you know theirs as well.
The Name Face Method allows you to remember the names of people you meet on the street, at bars, at school, or any other social gathering and remember them for months to years after.
Using the Name Face Method
The Name Face Method is comprised of five steps:
- Acquire the name
- Turn the name into something concrete
- Find a distinctive feature on the person’s face
- Visualize a mental picture associating the name with the person’s face
- Review the association
When you look at the steps, it seems quite hard to swallow.
How am I supposed to do all of these steps during a conversation and have it look natural?
With a little practice, it will become second nature and you will be able to do it in a manner of seconds.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the steps.
1. Acquire the Name
When your being introduced to a person often times you are worried about everything except what their name is.
*Okay, when he’s done talking I’ll say my name*
*After I say my name I’ll shake her hand. Wait, should I give her a hug instead?*
*Wow, she’s beautiful. Please don’t look like an idiot, please don’t look like an idiot, please don’t look like an idiot…*
To learn someone’s name, you obviously need to hear it when they say it.
And not just hear it, you need to listen and to register what they are saying.
Often times when you hear a name for the first time, you really aren’t hearing it, you are simply acknowledging it so you can move on with your introduction.
This is a failure in attention span.
Truly listening to someone’s name takes conscious effort and will likely require some practice since many people don’t pay attention.
If you don’t hear the name the first time, don’t be embarrassed to ask the person to repeat it.
Many people are afraid to ask a second time in fear of looking stupid, but it’s a good thing.
Asking for the name shows you are actually interested in them and what they have to say.
When you hear their name, repeat it back to them to solidify it in your mind and ensure you heard it correctly.
2. Make the Name Concrete
Making a name concrete means turning into something memorable to you.
Chapter 2 covers this, so if you haven’t read it I suggest you do so now.
Some names are very easy because they already have concrete meanings.
For example, last names like Greensburg, Kool, or Messerli can be easily viewed as the color “Green”, anything related to “Cool” (ice), or a mess/disaster.
For other names, however, you will likely have to use ‘substitute words’ based on the phonetics of the name.
Using substitute words is covered extensively in Chapter 2, but the idea is to using an image that phonetically sounds similar to the name.
For example, the name Williams sounds similar to “wild yams” and the name “Brittany” sound like “Britain,” the country.
Another technique is to rhyme, which is sometimes easy to do with one syllable names.
For instance, the name “Mike” rhymes with “bike.”
Rhyming and substituting names while talking to someone is very unnatural at first.
When you first start, it takes more than a fraction of a section to make someone’s name concrete.
Therefore, a great way to practice is to scroll through your Facebook wall and come up with associations for each person who appears.
That way you can socialize and practice the Name Face Method at the same time!
At this point you have the person’s name and have some quirky representation for it.
The next step, is to find a distinctive feature on the person’s face, so we can associate the name with the name.
Keep in mind that it takes a very long time for me to explain how this is done, but a very short amount of time to actually do it.
If you are overwhelmed, just keep on going and it will all make sense at the end.
3. Find a Distinctive Feature on Their Face
Study the person’s face closely and determine what facial feature jumps out at you the most.
What did you first notice about their face?
Do they have dimples?
Do they have a mole?
Are their eyes a ‘husky blue’ color?
Do their ears look like elf ears?
Anything about their face that is memorable will work.
However, try not to use a temporary feature.
Their hair color, hairstyle, piercings, and glasses are examples of temporary features.
They might have a different haircut when you see them next or they might be wearing contacts.
Once you have chosen a prominent feature, you are ready to associate their name with the feature.
4. Associate the Name with the Face
This is the meat and potatoes of the entire method.
This is where you connect their face with their name so you never forget it.
Take the visual association you derived from their name in step two and create an image of it interacting with the prominent facial feature you determined in step three.
Let’s use the name William Messerli as an example.
When we made these names concrete we said William sounds like “wild yams” and Messerli sounds like a mess or disaster.
Mr. Messerli happens to have a big nose.
To make the association, visualize wild yams pouring out of his nose and falling on the ground.
Some of the yams land with a splat and they make a huge mess that needs to be cleaned up.
Visualize this scenario with as much detail as possible (keep in mind, in real life you will be standing face to face with him).
The next time you see the person the image you associated with them will just pop into your head, allowing you to easily remember their name.
The final step is necessary for long-term retention of the name.
5. Review the Association
Research tells us that we are most forgetful minutes after we learn something.
If the information isn’t reviewed immediately, there is a great chance we will forget it.
To counteract this, we need to periodically review the name so it stays in our long-term memory.
Minutes after you learn the name, even if you are still talking to the person, quickly visualize the association you made with their name and their face.
One of the best strategies to retain information is called spacing learning.
By increasing the amount of time between review sessions, you increase your retention rate.
Repeat the visualization again after 15-20 minutes, again at one hour and once more the following day.
It also helps if you say the person’s name out loud.
If you can interject their name naturally into conversation, it helps make it concrete.
It’s very easy to do this.
After they introduce themselves “Nice to meet you Mr. Messerli, my name is…”
At some point during the conversation “Hahaha, Mr. Messerli, you are so funny!”
At the end of the conversation “Mr. Messerli, it was great to meet you! Have a good day.”
You get the point, just don’t overdo it saying their name every other second.
The Name Face Method works wonders and prevents you from ever having those awkward moments where you can’t remember a name again.
Many performers, and actors use this technique because they meet so many people.
Keep in mind that this method is a skill.
Skills require practice.
You aren’t magically going to be able to use this technique the first day you try it out.
You just finished Chapter 7. Congratulations! Now it’s time to move onto numbers. Numbers are very difficult to remember on their own! Phone numbers, credit card numbers, dates it can all be mastered with the Major System.