If you’ve been blessed with a photographic memory and never have any trouble remembering names, feel free to skip this article. If you are like most of us, however, and have been known to forget the name of a customer, prospect or associate… this article is for you!

If you have ever experienced a moment of panic during a presentation or sale because you forgot the name of your prospect, you have learned the hard way how important it is to get the names right.

Below are some tips to help you out:

When you learn somebody’s name, ask them to spell it. This will force you to take a few seconds thinking about their name, which will prevent it from going in one ear and out the other. If their name is even slightly complex, this tip is a winner – but if it’s a short, simple name like Dan or Bill, skip this one and move on to the next.

When you meet someone, take a moment to associate their name with a friend, relative or acquaintance of the same name. Try to come up with a couple traits they share in common with their namesake. This process can be surprisingly effective for many people.

Use their name several times in conversation. By forcing yourself to recall their name a couple of times early in your relationship, you’ll stand a much better chance of recalling it later on. Even when you’re not trying to remember their name, addressing people by name is a great way to form a bond with them.

Don’t rely solely on the setting to recall a name. If you meet somebody in a coffee shop, you’ll remember them in that setting. If you see them in a different environment, you may have trouble remembering their name. To combat this, deliberately picture people you’ve recently met in a variety of different environments. That way, you’ll be prepared no matter where you next run into them.

Some of these ideas may seem a bit silly, but they work for many people. And if you are prone to forgetting names, it is well worth your time to take this issue seriously. Forgetting the name of an important individual at an inconvenient time can be a real problem for your business. Stop blanking on names!