The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 17, 2014

Career Coach: The power of using a name

"A person's name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language." - Dale Carnegie.

Recently, I was in several situations where I was once again reminded of the power of using someone's name when interacting with them.

In one situation, a friend was in a rehab hospital, not getting particularly great personal attention, until his spouse reminded him that he, the patient, had not been very nice to the people who worked there. "Do you even know the names of the people who are helping you?" she asked him. "No, why should I learn their names?" he replied. She gave him some tips on how just by learning and using their names, he might get better care. Sure enough, it helped.

In another situation, I overheard someone talking to a customer service rep and they were incredibly polite and respectful, using the person's name throughout the conversation. Needless to say, the conversation went really well for both parties.

Why is it so important to use people's names? A person's name is the greatest connection to their own identity and individuality. Some might say it is the most important word in the world to that person.

It is the one way we can easily get someone's attention. It is a sign of courtesy and a way of recognizing them. When someone remembers our name after meeting us, we feel respected and more important. It makes a positive and lasting impression on us. To not remember a name, especially when someone has had to repeat it several times, is to make that person feel slighted.

There are many reasons and excuses people give for not remembering names (bad memory, poor listening, not paying attention, self-absorption, age). Perhaps you believe you are "not good" at learning or remembering other's names. This may be true, but it doesn't mean you can't improve.

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