How to Remember Names & Faces

Damn! I Know That Face.
I Just Can't Remember the Name!

The following article is a transcription of a talk given by two-time USA Memory Champion, Ron White. And trust me, when Ron White talks about memory, everybody listens ;-)

If he uses any terms that don't quite make sense, it's because this is actually a small part of a bigger program. If you want to understand the ins and outs of the full memory system I recommend you start with this in-depth review I put together when I worked through it myself a little while ago. — Word Buff

No, Ron does NOT have photographic memory. He simply practices an ingenious little system in which you take any names you want to remember and convert them into picture-stories. But not just any picture-stories. Stories that are constructed according to a certain 'formula' that our brains just eat up.

Want to Know Exactly How He Does It?

How to Remember Names and Faces

Well hello, I'm Ronnie White, the two time USA National Memory Champion and here's a program on how to remember names and faces. It's an important skill when you can shake somebody's hand today and six weeks later see 'em and remember their name. It builds relationships, it builds friendships, it'll build your business, and this is how you do it.

I've memorized as many as two hundred and thirty-two names in about an hour and a half. It was at a convention in Lake Tahoe. I went through the group and met two hundred and thirty-five people, then I went back through the group, repeated their names and missed three.

I got two hundred and thirty-two out of two hundred and thirty-five, it's the most I've ever done. I've done more than a hundred names on many occasions and you can too.

Imagine being able to walk into a conference and shake hands and at the end of the day being on a first name basis with fifty or a hundred people. It is a powerful skill. It's a relationship building skill, it's a business building skill. Whether you just want to go around your town and meet people at the grocery store or the gas station, the PTA meetings, and six weeks later remember their name when you see them again, you can do that.

Or if you want to get to the point where you can meet a hundred names in an hour and a half and remember it, or even a hundred names in thirty minutes. I've done that on many occasions. This is how you do it. At memory championships they'll give you fifteen minutes and in fifteen minutes I've done a hundred names. So you really can improve your ability to remember names and faces and this is the process on how to do it.

There are five steps to remember names and the first one is focus. Think about it, you shake somebody's hand and two seconds later you look at em, you're like, “I don't remember their name.” It is impossible, impossible, to forget a name in two seconds.

How to Remember Names - Introduction

If two seconds into the conversation you're not remembering somebody's name it's not because you have a bad memory, it's because you're thinking about what you're gonna say, what comes next in the conversation, what they think of you, what are you gonna sell em. You've got to focus yourself, it's so crucial. Pay attention – so, that's the first ingredient.

The second thing is a file – you need to select an outstanding facial feature on their face. This is a place to store the name.

The third thing is a picture – our mind remembers pictures. The reason you meet somebody today and six weeks later you see them at the grocery store, you remember the face but you don't remember the name, because you saw the face, you never saw the name. The mind remembers what it sees. So names into pictures is the language of your memory.

The fourth thing is action - action cements stuff into your memory. If you were in a car accident and it was ten or twenty years ago, you could probably tell me every detail of that accident, but if I asked you where did you drive last week on a Tuesday could you tell me you couldn't, the reason is our mind remembers things about action and emotion.

Action and emotion cements stuff into our memory, passive stuff doesn't go into our memory. Driving to the grocery store and getting a Dr. Pepper and a bag of Doritos is not going to go into your memory because there is no action, there is no cement. So we need to make these pictures with action.

The last is review -- I'm always reviewing and asking myself, 'who did I meet today?' Let me walk you through each one of these five steps and show you what I mean. Number one: focus. When I'm walking towards somebody who I don't know, I'm asking myself the question, 'What is their name? What is their name? What is their name? What is their name?' Now, do not say that out loud, by the way, or you will be seen as a crazy person and definitely not be winning friends and influencing people. But ask yourself the question 'What is their name? What is their name?' as you're walking towards them, that will focus your mind.

I guarantee you if you're saying 'What is their name what is their name, what is their name?' and they say 'Hi, my name is Steve', you're gonna be listening because you just told your mind to be paying attention. This focuses your sub-conscious mind and your conscious mind.

How to Remember Names - Focus

Next, you need to pick out something on their face that stands out -- an outstanding facial feature. Outstanding facial features are things like ears, eyes, lips, nose, mouth -- things that really catch your eye.

If Jay Leno walked into your office, you would notice his chin. That is his file, his outstanding facial feature. David Letterman's got this gap in his tooth, that is his file, his outstanding facial feature. Ross Pero, the guy who ran for president in the 1990's, 1992, he used to say in his campaign speeches, “I'm all ears!” And he was all ears. This is your file for Ross Pero. Grizzly Adams, you could use that beard right there, that would be his file or his outstanding facial feature. And, Mike Tyson was nice enough to tattoo his file on his face. That would be what you would use as Mike Tyson's outstanding facial feature.

After you have a file, after you've focused yourself and you have a file, then you need to have a mental database. It's gonna take you a month or two to create this database if you do it on your own. And the way you do it, every time you meet a person, turn their name into a picture, a mental image.

How to Remember Names - Image

For example, every time you meet a Steve, ask yourself, 'What could a picture for that be?' For me, it's a stove. Every time I meet a Lisa, it's the Mona Lisa, Every time I meet a Heather, it's a feather, Karen is always a carrot, and Doug is always dig.

Now, if I have created a database in my head of pictures for hundreds of names, Wendy is wind, Ron is a man running, Michelle is a missile, Brian is a brain, Joy is joy dish washing liquid, Harold is hair that's old.

I have tons! You could say a name and I could spit out the picture instantly. And that's the point that you're gonna have to get to. You need to have pictures for everybody's first names, or most common first names. And the way you do it is for the next thirty days, every time you meet somebody or you see a name, turn their name into a picture.

NOTE — When I downloaded Ron's Memory in a Month program I was more than a bit pleased to find that he includes a document with hundreds of names & pictures to save you the effort of doing this yourself. Below is a snippet from that document — Word Buff

At the grocery store, turn the clerk's name into a picture. If you see a name on a billboard, turn it into a picture. If you see movie credits, turn those names into a picture. A person sells you a movie ticket or your waiter or waitress, turn their name into a picture. I mean everybody.

Now here's the thing, after you turn Lisa into a picture you might want to use the Mona Lisa, you might not. Let's say you do. From now on, you never have to turn that name into a picture. You use the Mona Lisa for every single Lisa, you use a stove for every single Steve. And you use the same pictures over and over and over again.

In about a month, if you did this every day, you'd have at least a hundred names turned into a picture, maybe two or three hundred depending on how many names you ran across. It's easy to do.

It is easy to do. Here's the bad news, though. It's easy also not to do, and most people won't do it.

Turn names into pictures and that's really crucial. I did a seminar in Seattle once and a guy emailed me afterwards and he said my system for remembering names didn't work. I said, “No, that's not the problem, the problem is that you didn't take the time to turn names into pictures.”

So every day I emailed him five names, he emailed me back the five pictures. We did that for a month, we did one hundred and fifty names, at the end of that exercise he went out to the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, met a hundred people and remembered all of their names.

This right here, this is the crucial step and you have have to have to have to have to do it, you have to have pictures for names. The first month your name retention will be slow, but after you have pictures for names, you can walk through an audience and remember a hundred names in twenty minutes.

Next, action...

How to Remember Names - Action

Let's say this man's file is his nose, his name is Aaron. So my picture for Aaron is an arrow. The action is you don't just see an arrow sitting on his nose, you see an arrow chopping his nose off. Lots of action, action and emotion. File, picture, action. Action is crucial -- it's just as crucial as picture. If there is no action you will not remember it. Make it violent. Make that arrow go right through his nose.

Next, review. Ask yourself, “Who did I meet today? What was their file, what was the action?” Review review review, review.

Let's test this out a bit...

How to Remember Names - Test

Well first of all, focus our self on the guy on the left. Next, what's his file? It's gonna be his goatee. His name is Matt, so I want you to imagine yourself wiping your feet on his goatee. He's a mat, a doormat.

This guy right here's got really blue eyes, his name is Brian. We're gonna see a brain coming out his eyes. See a brain oozing out of eyes. Brain for Brian.

The next one, on the left, is Aaron.

How to Remember Names - Test

Here's his nose. I want you to see that arrow coming through here.

Over on the right, this woman's name is Sally, and Sally has got...what did we have unique about her? I like these lines on her face right here, these lines...and she's got a dimple right here. In these lines and in these dimples we see a Sally. Salad for Sally. So we're eating a salad, we're eating a salad in those lines.

How to Remember Names - Test

The next one, this guy on the left there, his name is Paul, his file is gonna be his eyebrows. Paul is a ball. I want you to see a basketball bouncing up and down his eyebrows. Basketball.

Her file is definitely her eyes and in her eyes you are going to see missiles. She's shooting missiles out of her eyes because her name is Michelle.

How to Remember Names - Action

Next, the woman on the left, we're going to use her...let's use her cheeks, right here on her cheeks, and her name is Karen, so I want you to see her cheeks are made out of carrots. Imagine yourself eating carrots off of her cheeks.

The woman on the right, her file is her nostril right here, and going up inside of her nostril we are going to put candy, because her name is Candy. She's got candy coming out right here.

So let's go back and review: Matt, because of the doormat. Brian because of the brain. Aaron the arrow, Sally the salad, Paul the basketball, Michelle the missile, Karen the carrot, and Candy right here.

Remembering names is easy: focus, file, picture, action and review. You can do it, I can do it. Build relationships, you will be amazed. — Ron White

Again, I'd like to emphasize that if any of the concepts in this talk didn't make sense, it's because this is actually a small part of a bigger program. If you want to understand the ins and outs of the full memory system I recommend you start with my in-depth review.

Alternatively, if you're in a real hurry to master this method, you can download the full program right now from Ron's website! — Word Buff

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