Across the board, TBI Survivors struggle with their memory. I found these great strategies on the brainline.org website:
Pay attention while being introduced.
- Stop what you're doing.
- Look at the person. What is it about the way this person looks that I will most likely remember? For example:
♦ Size – Heavy, thin, tall, short
♦ Hair – Curly, thin, short, long, color
♦ Facial features – nose, mouth, eyes
- Listen carefully to the name. If you don't catch their name when it was originally told to you, ask for it again. Saying it immediately will help you remember it when they walk away.
♦ Realize that people are flattered when you take an interest in them.
Save the person's name.
- Say the name at least three times in conversation. When first introduced, use the person's name several times as you talk to them. For example, you might say:
♦ "Hi, Jim, nice to meet you."
♦ "So, what do you do for a living, Jim?"
♦ "Do you have any kids, Jim?"
- Ask a question about that person's name (e.g., "Is that Catherine with a ‘C' or with a ‘K'?") or about the person (e.g., "Mary, do you come here often?").
- Visualize or try to picture in your mind something about the person you are most likely to remember (e.g., shape of their nose, color of their hair, height, weight).
- End the conversation with their name. For example,
♦ "Jim, it was great to meet you!"
♦ "Thanks for the information, Terry."
♦ "I enjoyed meeting you, Felicia."
- Something or someone familiar to you:
♦ Someone you know (For example, your aunt, your brother's girlfriend, your pet goldfish).
♦ Celebrity, famous person, or TV/cartoon character (For example, Bush, Wayne, Simpson, Bunker)
♦ An occupation (For example, Driver, Gardener, Cooke, Farmer, Baker)
♦ A thing or animal (For example, Booth, Hill, Snow, Moon, Wells, Falcon, Beard)
♦ Product brand name (For example, Singer, Ford, Webber, Dell, Decker, McCormick, Comet, Whitman)
- A rhyme. For example, Clark/lark; Puckett/bucket; Crump/slump; Blake/bake; Terry/merry; Teague/league; Blake/lake
- Familiar-sounding words. For example, Hightower = high + tower; Askew = ask + you; Starkey = star + key; Jackson = Jack + son; Mancuso = man + cue + sew; Andre = on tray.
- A noteworthy physical feature or personality characteristic. For example, you might think of someone with a big head of blonde hair as "Ryan the Lion"; a very tall girl might be "Tall Tiffany"; a lady with the gift of gab may be "Chatty Cathy."
- A "mind" picture. The more outlandish and colorful the picture, the easier it will be to remember. Longer names may need to be broken down into syllables to create memorable pictures. The full name should create ONE picture. The person whose name you have made a picture of should be in the picture. For example, to remember the name "Pitchford" you could think of the person pitching something at a Ford Bronco.
A word of caution: You will find that the more "odd ball" your memory cues are, the easier they are to remember. But it's a good idea to keep the cues to yourself so as not to offend anyone.
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
- Say the name silently to yourself a few times.
- Try to use the person's name in conversation repeatedly.
- Introducing the person to others can be an easy way to repeat the name without drawing attention.
When possible, make notes. (e.g., in your memory book/organizer; on a calendar; note pad; program, business card; etc.). Include:
- The person's name and prominent features.
- What you talked about.
- The person's interests, job, family, etc.
♦ Review the name often until it is familiar. Try to use the person's name in every day conversation; even if just say it to yourself.