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What’s In a Name?

If you're Mr. Bond rather a lot actually!

Shakespeare was right to ask; “What’s in a name?” Names matter, because a person’s name has power, and far more than most people realise. It’s personal and it distinguishes us from others.

I’ve always liked this quote by Dale Carnegie (the American author and developer of courses in self-improvement).

Our names are important to us and we all want people to remember them. A networking expert recently gave me a tip to help people remember our names. He suggested the best way to introduce ourselves is to do it in a similar way to James Bond. Yes, I now introduce myself as Alastair, Alastair Greener.

When we use someone’s name it connects with them and opens a door into their world. The connection shows them who we are, and it’s a way for us to show them how we see them.

I read recently that the first time you meet someone and ask their name, it’s actually a test. The test being whether they are special enough to ensure you remember it. When you say their name, the next time you meet them, you’ve told them that they were important enough for you to remember. That person will now think of you as someone who took the time to remember who they were. We’ve all heard about first and last impressions, so what a great way of doing this by simply remembering and using someone’s name.

People will often say that when charismatic people enter a room they make you, the person they’re talking to, feel like the most important person there. Your name will be the first thing they ask for and often the last thing they say as they leave. They’ll listen intently and almost every question will begin with them using your name as they get to know you. “So Bill, what brings you to the meeting today?” Every use of your name helps them remember it, but it also screams just how special you are. It shows they are listening to you and you alone.

When I deliver keynote speeches and workshops on building stronger business relationships and I advocate that knowing and using someone’s name is the key to more fulfilling relationships, whether they are business or friendship. There must be something in it because masters of communication, such as TV presenters, politicians and teachers, all use people’s names to great effect. It maintains attention and will ensure that person feels they are the most important individual at that moment.

Your client’s name is probably not James Bond, but it’s equally important to them and using it (as well as spelling it correctly) will definitely pay dividends!


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