When I started my acting classes at La Boite a few weeks ago, I told myself that, for once, I was going to be the one that was good with names. I was shocked to find that this worked, to a great extent. I didn't retain everything from the first week to the second, but I did remember about half the class, and picked up the other half again in week 2. By week 3, I know everyone's names.
We all tell ourselves and each other that we are terrible with names. I hear it often, from just about everyone. So being terrible with names is not some defect as such, unless it's a defect that every single one of us shares. What if we started speaking about it positively instead?
There was no trick or pattern to the way I retained names. As people went around the circle introducing themselves and answering some questions, I repeated the names in my head, mentally pointing to each person as I went. I went forwards and backwards around the circle while they spoke, paying more attention to my name memorisation than the personal stories. I tried skipping every second person so I wasn't just retaining a sequence, I associated names with facial characteristics or life stories if I could. I didn't have a great system, just repetition. The only thing I needed in week 2 for the names I forgot was a reintroduction. It's just another form of lines to learn, I say.
Mokalus of Borg
PS - Now if only every time I met someone, we all stopped for 15 minutes so everyone could talk about themselves a bit.
PPS - I may require another strategy for everyday life.