How to Remember Anyone’s Name

U.S. Memory Champion shares his tips on remembering names in networking situations.

By Chester Santos

Cropped shot of a group of businesspeople having a conversation in an office setting / trying to remember names

One of the main purposes of meetings and conferences is to network and to build & strengthen relationships. Being able to remember the names of people who you’re meeting can greatly help with this. As in-person events come back strong this year, developing this important skill can help you to get much more out of the wonderful experience of meeting with people in person.

I speak to large groups often. One of my favorite ways to open a presentation at conferences around the world is by naming hundreds of people in the audience after hearing each name only once. My name is Chester Santos and I’m a U.S. Memory Champion, sometimes referred to as “The International Man of Memory”. But believe it or not, I do not have a photographic memory. I use simple strategies that anyone can learn. Here are some of my tips:

A Four Step Process for Remembering Names

  1. As soon as someone introduces themself to you, immediately repeat their name. Nice to meet you, Jane. That’s it. Very simple. It may seem obvious, but most of the time when we are introduced to someone, our mind is on all sorts of things other than the person’s name and we pay no attention to it.  This first step forces you to pay attention for at least one second to the name in order to repeat it.

  2. Ask the person a question using their name.  Jane, how do you know Chester? Or…Jane, how long have you been with this company? Using the name just one time early on in the interaction will help to better cement the name in your mind. There is no need to make things awkward by continuously repeating the name. 🙂

  3. Take a few seconds to think of a connection between the person’s name and literally anything at all that you already know.  Jane might make you think of the novel, Jane Eyre or the actress, Jane Fonda. This should take you a few seconds or less and will really help to solidify the name in your memory.

  4. Make one last effort to use the name when saying goodbye. Something like, “Hope to see you again sometime, Jane”, should suffice. That extra effort to use the name at the end of the interaction will give you a better chance to remember a person’s name long term.

A Visual Representation of the Name

While going through the four steps above, try to come up with a visual representation of the name and connect it to something unique to you about the person’s look. For instance, you might picture a “chain” to remind you of the name “Jane”. If you think the Jane that you’re meeting has cool looking hair, you might imagine that a shiny chain is running through her hair. When you later run into her at the conference, you simply have to ask yourself what was unique to you about her look. You’ll instantly remember that you noticed her cool hair style, and then the image of the “chain” will come back to you and serve as a reminder that her name is “Jane”. It might perhaps sound a bit silly, but this technique is very powerful and effective.

Just by putting forth an effort to use the tips above, you’ll be focusing your mind and you should end up remembering more names at events this year! This will make meetings more fun and will help you to get to know more people and build better relationships.

For more information about memory skills expert, Chester Santos, and his conference presentations, you can 


About the Author

Chester Santos is a U.S. Memory Champion. Through his entertaining & educational television and movie appearances, professional seminars, and best-selling books, Chester has helped millions of people around the world to realize the benefits of an improved memory and sharper mind. Learn more at

Related Articles

Young woman waiting for flight at the airport lounge. Businesswoman sitting on a bench with coffee and using a mobile phone.

Top Ten Skills Needed to be a Meeting Planner of the Future

Now, more than ever, meeting planners need to be flexible and savvy. Read on for...


How Hybrid Work Continues to Shape the Workplace 

Association leaders discuss the post-pandemic workplace and how hybrid work works.

Work life balance vector concept. Business woman meditating on yoga mat holds laptop and flower in hand. Female character choosing between health relax and career. Dividing office vs rest illustration

The Cycle of a Successful Work-life Balance

How are association leaders promoting balance in their teams? And what can you do about...