The Subtle Art Of Knowing Names

The Subtle Art Of Knowing Names

It’s a common trend for people to forget the names of other people they meet, especially in the University setting where you casually meet several hundred people on the same day. Only a few people are gifted with the special ability of retaining such first time memories.



A case scenario of the importance of remembering names is depicted in the case study below:

Back in 1898, a tragic incident happened in Rockland County, New York. A child had died, and on this particular day the neighbors were preparing to go to the funeral. Jim Farley went out to the barn to hitch up his horse. The ground was covered with snow, the air  was cold and snappy; the horse hadn’t been exercised for days; and as he was led out to the watering trough, he wheeled playfully, kicked both his heels high in the air, and killed Jim Farley. So the little village of Stony Point had two funerals that week instead of one. Jim Farley left behind him a widow and three boys, and a few hundred dollars in insurance. 

His oldest boy, Jim, was ten, and he went to work in a brickyard, wheeling sand and pouring it into the molds and turning the brick on edge to be dried by the sun. This  boy Jim never had a chance to get much education. But with his natural geniality, he had a flair for making people like him, so he went into politics, and as the years went by, he developed an uncanny ability for remembering names . He never saw the inside of a high school; but before he was forty-six years of age, four colleges had honored him with degrees and he had become chairman of the Democratic National Committee and Postmaster General of the United States.

It was once rumored that he could call ten thousand  people by their first name. When asked to confirm this, he said


“No. You are wrong, I can call fifty thousand people by their firstnames”.

Fifty thousand!?

I’m pretty sure this is a world record and his name would have been included in the Guinness book of record(if there was a category for knowing names)


The truth is that a person’s name is usually a person’s favorite word(whether he likes the name or not), so no amount of tease like Chairman, baba, Chekube or Boss can replace the type of endearment stimulated by calling a person by their first name. 

Although people like Jim Farley find this thing easy, other people(like me?) find it hard to remember names. In this article,I’ll be sharing a few tips on how to easily remember people’s names.


Tip No.1

Always Look at people uniquely,have the thought at the back of your mind that everyone is special and hence, their names are special (even though their name is very common)


Tip No.2

Try to associate the names of people you meet with their faces. Psychologist say its easier to remember a picture than a word you just heard, so you could just like paint a picture of the person’s name with the face attributed to it in your head.

Tip No.3

Joke around with the name! Coin out very silly nicknames based on the name. (For instance calling Ayo-A.y, Wale-Whale, Dotun- Dotman). Psychologist have proven that this technique has a very high success rate in name retention.

Tip No. 4inal

Never be too embarrassed to ask people for their names. Most people feel a virtual constraint of simply asking people for their names (I myself am not a saint in this regard, there are some people I’ll still be calling Boss or Chairman till I leave school?). This is not right as knowing names is an important factor when it comes to building networks and making friends. Try not to feel too shy to ask people for their names.

So that’s basically it guys. I assure you that if you follow the tips above, you’re gonna be spitting out names like err… a spitter of names (if that’s a thing). Shalom✌



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