The Good Life

Use People’s Names

posted by Heather July 18, 2019 0 comments

Something sort of magical happens when you use someone’s name when you’re speaking to them. I know there’s actual research explaining the chemicals that get released into the brain when it happens, but I don’t need to know the exact science surrounding it…because I witness it in action every single day.

There’s a short piece in Kat’s book about her memory of the very first time Annie used her name when addressing her. I heard Maya speaking on the phone with the owner of the body shop that’s fixing her car and noticed how she so eloquently used his name 3 times while talking to him. And, I see how Ben dedicates time in the beginning of his class every day introducing drop-in’s and having his entire class yell their names out loud. They are the sweetest combination of totally horrified, and filled with a feeling of welcomeness and belonging.

I know. Most of us are awful with remembering names. Trust me: I call Ben by my ex-husband’s name about 10-20 times...a week. Remember, though, that the brain is a muscle, too. You need to train it in the same way that you train your posterior chain or your muscle-ups. No, as much as you’d like to believe that you came out of the womb with a birth defect robbing you of the ability to remember another person’s name…you’re not getting out of this one thateasily.

Everyone has their magic pill for remembering people’s names, but I will say the best method I’ve come across…that kills two birds with one stone…is simply using their name as many times as you can while speaking to them.

“Hi, I’m Heather. What’s your name? Oh, HI, Brian! Brian, what brings you to CFNE? Wow! That’s so cool! (*turn to friend next to you*) Meredith, have you met Brian yet? Brian’s from Miami…” You see what I’m doing there? When you say someone’s name that many times, it’s hard to forget. At least for a day.

Maybe it’s one of those 1%’s that gets you closer to letting someone know that you truly care about them, what their “story” is, and that you are genuinely listening to what they’re saying. 

But, in my opinion, using people’s names is more like a 35-50% than a 1%.

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