According to Forbes, few situations will make you cringe more than standing next to someone you’ve met several times and drawing a blank on his or her name.

Plenty of business deals and romantic rendezvous have been foiled because someone failed to recall the right name at the right time. In the Web age e-mail and social networks offer safe harbor; being able to use someone’s name (and pronounce it correctly) in a face-to-face situation can set you apart.

1. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
The most surefire strategy is to repeat the person’s name–both in your head, and out loud–as soon as possible after you’ve been introduced.

2. Picture This
Turn someone’s name into an image that you can remember. When you meet Shirley, think of a Shirley temple. Don’t laugh–it works.

3. Spell It Out
Another imagery-based tactic: Ask someone to spell out his or her name. If you can picture the letters in your mind, you’ll have a better chance of remembering the name. Imagine the person’s name written across his forehead, like a billboard.

Photo by remington.