Whose name is the most important and thought about name that you know? It’s yours! The average person is much more interested in their name than any others in the world. By remembering someone’s name, you are paying a very subtle, but very effective compliment. Your name sets us apart as a unique individual. Forgetting it, or mis-spelling it, will put you at a significant disadvantage.
I remember when I first noticed how powerful calling someone by their name really was. I was in a fast-food restaurant and the lady had a badge with her name on it. I used her name when I was ordering, and I could see her physically take a step back and look at me as if I must have special powers to have known what it was!!! Obviously, none of her customers had ever mentioned her name before, despite it being clearly available for people to use! I can’t be sure, obviously, that it was because I used her name, but I received exceptional service, some freebies thrown in, and had a fantastic meal.
Since then, I’ve used this very simple communication skill wherever I’ve gone. And I seemed to have got the same surprised reaction in pubs, supermarket checkouts etc. And if they’re not wearing a badge, I also now specifically ask someone’s name, so that I can keep using it during my time in their shop or restaurant.
Obviously, this same technique is also important in the workplace. I’ve known managers who have no idea what the names of their employees are, and I think they have lost out on a valuable communication skill that builds trust and respect. Using your team’s name in correspondence, sending birthday messages, saying hello and using their name when you walk down the corridor – it’s simple, but it makes a difference.
I appreciate that it’s sometimes difficult to remember a name, especially if it’s hard to pronounce. But rather than ignoring it or using a nickname, work out the best way for you to remember. Repeating the name at least 3 times in the conversation, seeing in your mind’s eye something about that person that you can relate to, asking how the name is spelt (and writing it down when you get the chance). Work out what your method is and keep doing it, whenever you have the opportunity.
For everyone you meet, using their name is a communication skill that works like magic!
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