Remembering Participants’ Names

Thanks to Robert Graham ( for these tips.

Few things can bond and establish a connection with a group like learning everyone’s name quickly.

I routinely do this with groups of up to 15, and the look on their faces, when 10 minutes into the workshop
I can call everyone by their first name, is priceless. Here’s how to do it:

1. Obtain a participant list ahead of time and read through the
list out loud several times.

2. During the beginning of your program (this works best in
small workshops), have each person share their name, what they
do, what they would like to learn from our session and any
other personal details they would like to include.

3. As each person is speaking, say their name (to yourself) a
few times and make any associations that are helpful. (I once
worked with a guy named Clark who looked a lot like Superman.)

4. In addition to listening to each person’s introduction,
silently recall the names of each person who has spoken

5. As quickly as possible after the introductions, begin using
their names when calling on people.

6. For extra credit, as they reveal things about themselves
(personal details, passions, family information,
accomplishments, guilty pleasures), write them down. That way
at a break or lunch, you have an immediate conversation
starter about them: “So what was it like to grow up in Dubai?”
or, “When did you graduate from UCSB?”


Note from Tom – I’ve seen the entertainer Kathy Griffin walk around with a yellow notebook before her
speaking gig talking to the audience and writing down notes about audience members.

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