What is the most common strategy you have heard about the best way to remember the name of someone you have just met? Probably to say their name at least three times in the ensuing conversation or perhaps to think of a feature that their name reminds you of. Maybe even to link their name with someone else you know who has the same name.
I don't know about you, but even though I have heard these strategies over and over, I am still not good at remembering names! I can meet someone and literally the next minute I have no idea what their name is. It is actually kind of embarrassing, especially since I am the owner of a brain training business; I mean, that's what we do—help people gain a stronger memory.
What we have found after years of research is that our ability to store and retrieve information is linked to our short and long term memory. You have to first process information (like learning a new name) and then decide to keep it or toss it. If you need to retain the information, it needs to go into the long term memory portion of your brain. Once there, we obviously need to be able to retrieve it (say, when you see that new person you just met in a different setting and want to be able to call them by name). Those strategies I mentioned earlier can actually work, you just have to train your brain to remember to do them. You want that skill to be automatic.
One way to train those memory mental skills is to play a Memory Card game with your kids. The younger your child, the fewer cards (start with 6 pairs); you can add more pairs as you both get better. Instead of just flipping cards over and over, make an effort to pair a card with a part of the room. For example, if your first card that you turn over (a bird, let's say) is in the upper left corner, picture the bird perched in the upper left corner of the room you are in. Make an association with each card so when you need to recall the location, you have a picture of where that card is in your mind.
I obviously need to play more Memory. Or better yet, sign myself up for my own brain training program!