How good are you at remembering people’s names?

October 14, 2010

One of the first activities I participated in as a student of the Dale Carnegie Course was one in which we were taught how to better remember the names of the people we’re meeting for the first time — and more importantly remember those names for second, third and fourth encounters.

I was instantly nervous because I know how challenging it can be for me to remember simple things on my to-do list, let alone the first and last name of multiple people I’m meeting for the first time. Our instructor asked us to write down, feasibly, how many of our 40-plus classmates’ names we thought we could remember by the end of the night. My response:


I knew I was probably low-balling it, but I also know how bad my memory is. So then our instructor asked us to write down a number that, if we were able to remember that many people’s names, we would be blown away. So I wrote down 20.

By the end of the class, I knew a little more than 30. So consider me blown away.

I tell this story to illustrate the power that the Dale Carnegie teachings have on seemingly simple things like remembering people’s names. But remember Dale Carnegie’s assertion “that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” So in this one class, I learned a very valuable tool that will reap rewards in both my personal and professional arenas the rest of my life.

So I’m curious, right now, in a room full of people, say, at a networking event, how many people’s names do you think you could remember? Leave your number in the comments.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

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2 Responses to How good are you at remembering people’s names?

  1. Judy S on October 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Erica– You are the best! This is a wonderful article–Thanks for sharing your experience!
    Judy S

  2. Erica Finley on November 10, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Thank you for your wonderful comment, Judy. I’m definitely trying to get all the things I’m learning down in this blog — keep the comments coming!

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