Do you forget people’s names within seconds of being introduced? Are you so bad at remembering names that you don’t even try? Are you routinely embarrassed by random strangers on the street who greet you by name, thus demonstrating that they are not random strangers after all, but people whose names you should probably know?
If you’re cringing, relax. You’re not the only one with this problem! And it’s something you can fix—with a little effort.
This simple 47-step memory trick will ensure you never forget a name again. Give it a try next time you’re at a conference or cocktail party, and you’ll never look back!
- If their name is David, simply remember the word “David”. Easy, right? If their name isn’t David, go to step 2.
- Count the number of letters in their name, and modulo that number by 12.
- You will now have a number between 0 and 11. Add one to this number.
- Convert your number into a month of the year (1 = January, 2 = February, and so on)
- Take the first letter of their name, and convert it into a number (A = 1, B = 2, and so on)
- Subtract that number from the number of days in the month specified in step 4.
- You now have a date in the year. For example, Alexandra, with nine letters and beginning with A, would yield September 29. Can you see where this is heading?
- To round out the date, we need the year of the person’s birth. You are unlikely to have the opportunity to ask for this information directly, so just use your best estimate.
- If you were alive on this date, go to step 10. If not, go to step 18
- Think about the day in question (eg, 29 September 1990) and note the first thing that comes into your mind. Maybe you went to the zoo? That’s great!
- Think of a famous person who you associate with that activity. Continuing the zoo example, you might choose Kevin James, star of the 2011 film Zookeeper.
- Now take the full initials of this famous person. Kevin James’s real name is Kevin George Knipfing, which gives you KGK.
- Think of a noun that uses those initials in that order. For KGK, your options are Kingmaker, or Walkingstick. We’ll pick Walkingstick, because of Kevin James’s multiple back injuries sustained in high school and college sports.
- Excuse yourself from the conversation, and purchase that item (walking stick) from your nearest pharmacy. (Psst, aren’t you glad you didn’t pick kingmaker?)
- Return to the conversation and give the item (walkingstick) to your new acquaintance. If you can still remember their name, you can repeat it now, but it’s okay if you’ve forgotten.
- Instruct them to keep the item (walkingstick) on their person at all times, but especially when they are near you.
- Now, whenever you meet this person again, it’s a simple exercise to go from walkingstick to KGK to Kevin James to Zookeeper to Zoo to 29 September 1990 to a nine- or 21-letter name beginning with A... and there aren’t many nine- or 21-letter names beginning with A, I assure you! This person’s appellation is practically carved into their forehead for ever more.
- (You weren’t alive on that particular day) Forget everything you did in steps 2 through 8. Now, if their name is found in the Old Testament, go to step 19. If their name is found in the New Testament, go to step 25. If their name is found in both Testaments, go to step 36. If ther name is found in neither Testament, go to step 37.
- (Old Testament name) List all parents of all people with this name in the Old Testament. For example, ‘Miriam’ would yield Amram and Jochebed, while ‘Zedekiah’ would yield Josiah and Hamutal.
- Rearrange the letters from the parents’ names to be in alphabetical order. Amram and Jochebed, for example, would become Aabcdeehjmmor.
- Count the number of repeated letters, then remove them. In our example, we would be left with Abcdehjmor, and the number 3.
- Take the number of duplicates, and convert it into the corresponding Old Testament book (1 = Genesis, 2 = Exodus, etc). Book three is Leviticus.
- Convert the alphabetically sorted string (without the duplicates) into a melody, where ‘H’ is the A above middle C, ‘O’ is the A above that, and so on. Use the Old Testament book as your lyrics. In our example you might produce something like this: