What’s my name?
According to Dale Carnegie’s all-time classic book titled How to Win Friends & Influence People (which is a must read for all wanting to master the art of networking), one of the first lessons a politician learns is this: “To recall a voter’s name is statesmanship. To forget it is oblivion”.
How true this holds in the world of networking. Whether it’s a CEO, professor, student, recruiter, mechanic, restaurant owner or new friend, I always take the extra time to remember their first name. Not only do I take the time to know how it’s spelled, but I also make sure that I’m able to pronounce it correctly.
For example: In my previous job, I had the pleasure of working with a diverse ethnic background of colleagues, both in the US and abroad in Japan, whom at times had difficult names to pronounce and spell. The majority of them would accept shortened nicknames to prevent their colleagues from having to struggle in pronounciation. I even ran into some colleagues who completely switched to ‘American’ names (this is very popular with Asians working in the US or dealing with Americans over the phone). Did you really think the ‘Joey’ or ‘Michelle’ from China on the phone at work yesterday was using his or her real name???
Despite their consideration, I can tell you that when I disregarded their attempts to make it easier for me and instead tried to remember and pronounce their names correctly, their eyes lit up and a smile came across their face (in person and felt over the phone) that was never seen before. Before you know it, the grumpy cafeteria lady at work was smiling and piling my plate high with a free, second serving of chicken parm & my IT specialist in India that never replied to my repeated e-mails about my glitch in Excel was soon calling me every morning to see if everything was OK and offering me tips on how to improve my computer’s performance…ALL because I took the extra TIME out of my day to learn their NAMES and pronounce them CORRECTLY. Simple enough, right?
Let’s face it. We as human beings love attention and the idea of feeling important. When someone we barely know recalls our name the second time we meet, it makes us feel special.
So, the next time you meet a person, take that extra minute out of your day to remember their name. It will work marvels and ultimately give your contact the extra motivation to offer you a helping hand whenever you need it - whether it’s an extra serving of lunch, IT help for your computer, or even that next job or promotion.
Thoughts? Comments? Let me know!