Be Suave:Practical Steps to Remembering Names and Why Recall is Good Business

The ability to recall names is good for business and how a podcast can teach you “how it’s done”

The roads to learning and self-improvement are many and don’t always involve a traditional book. Several months ago we shared some alternatives to reading that really work. Podcasts, digital audio files made available on the internet, offer diverse learning choices. Podcasts offer something for everyone – even learning techniques on how to remember names.


The Model Health Show is a top rated podcast in iTunes. Recently, they featured practical techniques from memory improvement, brain performance and accelerated learning guru, Jim Kwik. On this particular episode, Jim Kwik discussed how recall is a key business skill. The ability to remember the names and faces of clients, along with the names of their wives and children, shows you are interested and that you listened. This recall skill will also give you extra points while networking.

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

– Teddy Roosevelt


Kwik’s basic premise to recall is the acronym MOM, motivation, observation and mechanics. He did a deeper dive into this theory on an earlier episode. His focus this time around was to drill down on one of the mechanics of remembering names with another acronym BE SUAVE.


BE SUAVE – recall technique to remember names:

B – Believe that you can remember names – “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, either way, you’re right” – Henry Ford. The key here is to remove the negative self-talk.

E – Exercise – Practice making an effort along with creating good habits will improve your ability to remember names.

S – Say the name back to the person and make sure you heard the name correctly. This tip is particularly key when you are in a loud place.

U – Use the name in the course of conversation (3-4 times) be sure not to abuse it.

A – Ask the person about their name, ask them to spell it, where is it from, what does it mean. This is a great tip for unique names and those with origins from other languages. Ask follow-up questions,  it shows that you are interested.

V – Visualize – We usually remember faces and forget the names. So create a visual picture of someone’s name. So if his name is Mike, remember him on a MICrophone. Make the word picture relatable to you.

E – End every conversation using their name.


“What I hear I forget, what I see I remember, what I do I understand.”

– Chinese proverb


It is important to try out new learning tools if you are looking for a fix. If you already have a technique that works for you, use it. Not every tool works for every person.