Saturday, August 29, 2009

Associating a Name with a Facial Feature

Nominate Articulate Morph Entwine

In the previous blog post I wrote about the FACE method which has the goal of ensuring you get a person's name and remember it after the meeting.

But what happens when you are introduced to groups of people? This is a common scenario in business meetings or at a cocktail party. You won't have time to use the FACE method. This article describes Benjamin Levy's NAME method for associating a person's name with a facial feature. When you next see the person, the face will remind you immediately of the name!

A big challenging of remembering names is they are not inherently memorable. What images come to mind when you try to memorise Dave, Steve, Sue, Jenny, Louis, and Alan? The challenge then is to make names become memorable. This is done by morphing the name into something memorable. But more about that later.

The basis of the NAME method is converting the name to something memorable, then associating it with a prominent facial feature.

The four steps of NAME are Nominate, Articulate, Morph and Entwine:

1. Nominate

When you meet someone for the first time, look carefully at the face and pick out a feature. Maybe it is the feature that grabbed your attention when you first saw the person. But make sure you don't pick a feature that could change such as hair, glasses or jewellery.

Become aware of facial features. Look at the person's eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, facial structure, ears, and chin.

2. Articulate

Once you have identified the feature, silently Articular precisely what you observed. This confirms your full devotion and attention to the feature you have nominated.

Over time you will develop an awareness of the structure and appearance of the human face, and a useful vocabulary for describing faces. As you observe people in public places, practice identifying a feature and describing it silently to yourself.

3. Morph

Names have no inherent meaning which makes then difficult to remember. In this stage we morph, or transform the name into something which sounds similar but memorable. For example, "Sam" sounds like "SPAM". "Geoff" sounds like "Chef". Now you can visualise a can of SPAM for Sam, and Chef's hat for Geoff.

It is important to morph the name into a word that has a strong, memorable image, usually a noun.

4. Entwine

Now that we have a strong mental image of the name, and a nominated facial feature, we need to create a memorable association between them. The goal is to create an unforgettable assocation with lots of exaggeration and action. Levy recommends including violent images, and possibly obscene or ludicrous. The mental image is only known to you, so there are no limits to your imagination.

An example of using this system is if you meet a man named David. He has a high forehead. You morph the name David into an image of a STAR OF DAVID. The star is entwined in the forehead maybe the star is very hot and burning into the forehead.

The mother of one of my daughter's classmates is named Ann. I imagined an ant walking across a particular feature of her forehead.


Now you know the NAME method:
  1. Nominate - survey the face, then choose a feature
  2. Articulate - describe the feature so you know it
  3. Morph - names don't have meaning, so change them into something similar with meaning
  4. Entwine - the facial feature and and the morphed name
You will need to practice the NAME method by regularly studying faces. Look at people in shopping centres, restaurants, public transport. Practice face studying at every opportunity! Observe faces closely and be amazed by everyone's uniqueness.

You should use the same morphs for names. I created lists of over 200 male names and 200 female names. These can be downloaded and used as the basis of your own personal name morph list:

Boys names with morph words
Girls names with morph words

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