We’ve all been there, especially communications folks. You’re at an important industry or networking event, you meet a ton of people and naturally, you exchange names and information.

Then, BOOM – your worst nightmare happens. You run into one of your new networking pals two weeks later at Starbucks, and of course they remember who you are, but you just can’t remember his or her name.

This can happen to anyone at any time, even if you pride yourself for having the memory of an elephant. So how do you avoid this situation altogether? We’ve put together a few tips that can help your memory and make you the champion of networking (or at least name-recalling).

1. Repeat the person’s name when speaking to them

This is just a simple game of ‘talking out loud’ to boost memory retention. According to Psychology Today, saying things aloud creates distinctive memory. Dubbed by scientists as the ‘production effect,’ it basically states that spoken words are remembered much better than those said silently.

Thus, our recommendation is to put this into practice by repeating the person’s name a few times in the conversation. For example, you can start by asking for the person’s name then repeating it after “nice to meet you.” Follow it up by adding the name to a few typical phrases, like “that’s great, Jenny,” or “Jenny, sounds like you enjoy what you do.”

Lastly, wrap it up by repeating the name one last time after saying your closing statement, such as, “It was nice to meet you, Jenny.”

2. Find a feature that you can link his or her name to

Though this may distract you from accurately listening and remembering your conversation, if you’re swift it could be a helpful tool. It’s similar to memorizing buzzwords or phrases on flashcards when studying for a test.

However, we don’t recommend you to match it to something someone is wearing because they likely won’t be wearing the same thing when you see them again. Instead, match it to a facial feature. For example, if you’re speaking to a girl named Becky and you like her hair color, she could be “Becky with the good hair.”

3. Introduce him or her to someone else.

At networking events, there are obviously plenty of people around, and oftentimes you will know a few of them. After meeting someone new, try introducing him or her to the person you know (saying his or her name, of course). This could even be another person you just met.

Similar to the first point, this helps you practice the person’s name but in turn makes you look like a rock star for expanding his or her network.

4. Don’t just get a business card – write something to help you remember details

By ‘write something to help you remember,’ we don’t necessarily mean appearance-wise. Though this may suffice, try writing down something you spoke about in conversation. For instance, if Mikey’s son is going away to college for the summer, write that down. This won’t just help you remember the person, it’ll make you a superstar for remembering an important aspect when you reconnect.

5. Listen intently 

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to reiterate. When someone first says their name, pay attention! Focus on what he or she is saying. Don’t get distracted by the others around you. Tune it all out and hone in. When you listen rather than just hear, chances are you will remember.

In Summary

Making a lasting impression at these events matters. It’s crucial to build your network and expand your presence in the industry. Ultimately, the best business can come from recommendations from within your network.

But before establishing a trusting relationship, you must remember the most important thing: Names.