It never fails to amaze how something as simple as using somebody else’s name can endear you to that person.  When you use their name, they know you are personalizing your conversation to them – and they knew you took the time to know their name, a fact that isn’t lost on most people.

If you pay attention, you’ll hear so many people use “honey”, “buddy”, or even “excuse me” when addressing somebody.  Perhaps you don’t know their name yet.  If you’re at a networking event, there could be a clue – a name tag.  Or you can ask.  Then don’t forget to use it during the conversation.  If you don’t subsequently use it, it’s like you weren’t even paying attention when they told you, and that’s a turnoff.

So why don’t people use other people’s names?  Laziness is a common reason.  They’re just not motivated to learn it.  It’s easier to make the excuse that they can’t remember names.  But that’s not a good excuse.  According to Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends & Influence People”:

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

A few months ago, my associates & I were hosting an event in my company’s conference room; and there were 30 people attending most of whom we had never met before.  When greeting them, an associate of mine took the time to ask their names, used it during the initial conversation, and made a conscious attempt to remember each and every one.  Certainly that got the pair off on the right foot, creating a budding relationship.

A few hours later, during an informal presentation to the group, that associate decided to start by calling out each person he met by name.  Almost every person in the room was surprised he remembered their names – and pleased about it.  Many of them mentioned it to me on the way out the door – and I found out in ensuing weeks that they had remembered my associate better and with a more positive light – all because he used their names.

There are many ways to make yourself standout by remembering and using the sweetest and most important sound in any language.  Leaders get more from their teams; sales people form better relationships with their prospects; and everyone gets better service in restaurants, retail stores and service establishments.  So it’s a great habit to create for yourself.

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