This is an article that I have seen go past in my RSS reader a few times lately: Meeting Tip: Learning Names. It is something that I have used for years, but this is a great writeup of what to do. Simply stated, make a little “map” of the meeting table you are at and write everyone’s name along with any other information you might need next to them.
I’ve taken it further a few times and actually written notes under each person’s name so that I knew who came up with the idea. It was a common practice for me at NeoTactix where we would meet a ton of new companies all the time and I could _never_ keep their names straight in my head. I find it equally important in my consulting life at ThoughtWorks, but rely on it less when I see the people that I meet every day and their name eventually starts to stick in my head.