‘Names are the sweetest, most important sound in any language.’ – Dale Carnegie
Everyone has a favourite word in the English Language. According to one survey, the top three favourite words of the general public are ‘Serendipity’, ‘Quidditch’, and ‘Love.’ While the simple, apparently nerdy, and heart-warming people that chose these words may believe that this is their favourite word, I bet I can pick one that they prefer.
Think of your favourite word in any language. Maybe you like it because of how it sounds. I bet I can select a word that sounds sweeter to you than any word in any language. And that word is, simply, your name.
Our name embodies our identity, gives us individuality, and is the most mellifluous sound to grace our ears.
If you have ever worked in retail or as a member of a restaurant waiting staff, you may have experienced the power that is in the name. A customer who takes the time to read your name badge and refer to you by your birth-given name rather than ‘oi’ or ‘you’ will probably have stood out in your memory of that working day. There is a reason for this: a person’s favourite topic will always be themselves. Using a person’s name provides them with the personal attention that each person desires in almost every interaction. Sound too simple? Try it.
Use a person’s name in each conversation you have with them and see their response. When asking for assistance in a store, take the few seconds it costs to read the employee’s name badge and call them by their name; treat staff as another human being as opposed to solely a tool for assistance. I think you’ll find they will be much more willing to help you with your issue, and, they might even go the extra mile for you, beyond what they would be willing to do for the average customer who treats them as just another dehumanised staff member.
This idea isn’t exclusive to retail workers; use this idea with everyone whom you communicate with. I challenge you to try to use the person with whom you are talking to’s name at least once in every conversation. Do this, and you will find that people gravitate towards you because of the intimate and personal connection you establish by simply calling a person by their given name, and in doing so, use the sweetest sound that any person can hear.
It is hard to imagine that a man who takes the time to learn and use every person they meet’s name could be unfriendly. So why can’t you and I become this person? This is not a new trick or method of manipulation. Rather, it is a means of establishing a genuine interest and level of intimacy between two humans. This idea is neither new, a secret, or ephemeral.
Old, obvious, and eternal.