Fable Friday: What’s in a name and 4 great tips for remembering them

I didn’t go to graduate school until I was several years at work, and one night after class a young single woman asked me to go out for a drink, saying she wanted to talk about careers, learn more about my work, and pick my brain. I was too stupid to see that this was a date, but readily agreed as I thought I could help her.

Gregory at Medtronic 10-2010 CroppedWe went to a nightclub sort of place and they had a DJ doing music trivia.  I’m pretty good at that so I was listening with half an ear to the quizzes, while my new date went on and on about her job.

The DJ said he’d buy a drink for your table if you guessed the artist of this next song.  Cheap as I am, the date was now totally tuned out, as I heard the opening chords of a song I know very well.  They never got to these lyrics before I was on my feet.

“Shirley! Shirley, Shirley bo Birley Bonana fanna fo Firley Fee fy mo Mirley, Shirley!”

“Shirley Ellis, The Name Game,” I screamed over everyone else in the crowd.  And the waiter came over with a couple of free drinks.

Well, that was the highlight of the evening, that and winning two more drinks, and there were no more dates with her, needless to say.

I thought of this song as I was thinking about what a hash we make of the names of people we meet. Are you any good at remembering people’s names?  Do you find yourself being introduced to a new person and then one minute later hitting yourself on the head in frustration because you already forgot the name?

Here are three tips to help you get better at it, as people love to be called by name:

1)      When you are introduced to “Shirley Ellis,” even if the name is clear, say “Could you repeat that? I didn’t hear you.” Now listen and you will remember.  If I hear a first or last name that sounds like one thing but could be another, such as “Claiborne,” I say “Can you spell that for me?”  You’ll remember it then. I’ve never forgotten a name I’ve had repeated for me.  People will appreciate that you want to get it right.

2)      When you meet Steven, Michael, Philip, Anthony or Robert, remember that their names are NOT Steve, Mike, Phil, Tony or Bob. Show some respect. I always introduce myself as Gregory. If I wanted to be called Greg, I would say so. Listen to how people call themselves and don’t make nicknames out of their name.

3)      Suppose you work in retail and are given a check, or some other document with the customer’s name on it, and it’s a tricky one. Don’t avoid the name. Instead say, “I want to make sure I pronounce your name correctly, so please help me. Is it Kouzamenoctis?”  People will love you for giving it a try and acknowledging you want to call them by name.

4)      Use the new person’s name as quickly as is reasonable after you meet someone. It’s a useful skill.

What’s in a name anyway? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  (I just made that up.)  But getting it right will go a long way to building friendships, and help you to…

Think Like Your Customer

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About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

3 Responses to Fable Friday: What’s in a name and 4 great tips for remembering them

  1. I love your posts Gregory and I loved the story you told. You should tell more of them – it suits you 🙂

  2. Danyah Arafat says:

    Love this post!!!! Things I always told my students – and also – things that I keep in check as well.   One more thing I always do – unless they specifically request to be called by their first name, I always address a client as Dr., Mr., Mrs, Ms., etc. You get the general idea. I think it shows respect.   Thanks for today’s message, Gregory!   Danyah

    >________________________________ > From: actionsystems >To: danyah.arafat@yahoo.com >Sent: Friday, October 4, 2013 3:33 PM >Subject: [New post] Fable Friday: What’s in a name and 4 great tips for remembering them > > WordPress.com >Gregory LaMothe posted: “I didn’t go to graduate school until I was several years at work, and one night after class a young single woman asked me to go out for a drink, saying she wanted to talk about careers, learn more about my work, and pick my brain. I was too stupid to see ” >

  3. Karl says:

    I’m always impressed when I introduce myself and someone says, “Is that with a “C” or a “K?” Carl is probably the more common spelling so it makes me feel more unique if they recognize the other option.

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