All Articles Leadership Communication The best approaches for remembering names at networking events

The best approaches for remembering names at networking events

9 entrepreneurs offer tips on being a better networker.

4 min read




The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBrief posts by YEC.

If you enjoy this article, join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for our daily newsletter for entrepreneurs.

Q. What’s your best trick for remembering faces and names at networking events?

1. Use their name in the conversation

After someone tells you their name, try to incorporate it back into your conversation quickly so it locks in. It’s best to look someone in the eyes when you’re chatting, so make a mental note of their face and repeat their name back to yourself silently. — Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40

2. Connect them to a visual image

Try to associate the two by creating a connection between the person you’re talking to with a visual image. If their name sounds like another word then connect it to a visual image. For an example, if their name is Mr. Smith, then connect their name to a granny smith apple. We tend to remember pictures better than words, so this will help trigger your memory when you recall the face or name. — Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

3. Ask for the spelling

I always ask how people spell their name, by asking, “Jody, so is that with a ‘y’ or an ‘i?’” It works every time and people always appreciate it! I’ll even say, “John, is that with an ‘h’ or no ‘h?'” — Brandon Dempsey, goBRANDgo!

4. Take a selfie

Until name tags evolve to include a recent Facebook picture, we’ll have to be creative about remembering names and faces. The best option is to take a selfie with your new friend or snap a photo of their business card for reference. You can post these to social media or simply make a note to yourself about who you’ve met and how to follow up (the whole reason you need to remember names!). — Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

5. Consider it to be considerate

Make an association and consider the person. When you put your attention on the person entirely that is in front of you, you make an association whether a place or person from your past or present, and then reinforce it by speaking the association aloud. This is an excellent trick and it is also considerate. It does not necessarily mean you are referring them to your own narrative, it helps you! — Matthew Capala, Search Decoder

6. Exchange Linkedin or Twitter info

If you’re having a good conversation with someone and want to keep in touch, exchange contact info! This may be just pulling out your phone and asking for their Twitter handle or LinkedIn info. — Jared Atchison, WPForms

7. Ask for their card

Ask for their business card and jot down a note next to their name with something memorable about them. Make sure to ask them a unique question. That can be very helpful for remembering them the next time. — Ben Lang, Spoke

8. Immediately put their information in your phone

I get their contact information and enter it immediately while talking with them so I have it for the next time. If I need to I scroll through my names to jog my memory at the next event before walking up to them to make sure I know who they are in advance of saying hello again. — Murray Newlands, Sighted

9. Imagine them meeting someone else

The best strategy for remembering someone’s name is making an association with someone who you already know or are familiar with. Think of ways in which this person actually looks or acts like someone who you know with the same name. Picture them together and “introduce” them to each other in your head. Once Anne has unknowingly met your cousin, you’ll easily bring back the memory when needed. — Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors