The sweetest and most important sound in any language
I can call fifty thousand people by their first names.’ Make no mistake about it. That ability helped Mr. Farley put Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House when he managed Roosevelt’s campaign in 1932.
During the years that Jim Farley travelled as a salesman for a gypsum concern, and during the years that he held office as town clerk in Stony Point, he built up a system for remembering names.
He wrote to one person in each town he had visited, asking for a list of all the guests to whom he had talked. The final list contained thousands and thousands of names: yet each person on that list was paid the subtle flattery of getting a personal letter from James Farley. These letters began ‘Dear Bill’ or ‘Dear Jane,’ and they were always signed ‘Jim.
Jim Farley discovered early in life that the average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together. Remember that name and call it easily, and you have paid a subtle and very effective compliment. But forget it or misspell it – and you have placed yourself at a sharp disadvantage.
Sometimes it is difficult to remember a name, particularly if it is hard to pronounce.
Half the time we are introduced to a stranger, we chat a few minutes and can’t even remember his or her name by the time we say goodbye.
One of the first lessons a politician learns is this: ‘To recall a voter’s name is statesmanship. To forget it is oblivion.”
Most people don’t remember names, for the simple reason that they don’t take the time and energy necessary to concentrate and repeat and fix names indelibly in their minds. They make excuses for themselves; they are too busy.
Benton Love, chairman of Texas Commerce Bancshares, believes that the bigger a corporation gets, the colder it becomes. ‘One way to warm it up,’ he said, ‘is to remember people’s names. The executive who tells me he can’t remember names is at the same time telling me he can’t remember a significant part of his business and is operating on quicksand.
Karen Kirsch of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, a flight attendant for TWA, made it a practice to learn the names of as many passengers in her cabin as possible and use the name when serving them. This resulted in many compliments on her service expressed both to her directly and to the airline. One passenger wrote: ‘I haven’t flown TWA for some time, but I’m going to start flying nothing but TWA from now on. You make me feel that your airline has become a very personalised airline and that is important to me.
People are so proud of their names that they strive to perpetuate them at any cost. Even blustering, hard-boiled old P.T. Barnum, ‘The Greatest Showman’, disappointed because he had no sons to carry on his name, offered his grandson, C.H. Seeley, $25,000 dollars if he would call himself ‘Barnum’ Seeley.
We should be aware of the magic contained in a name and realise that this single item is wholly and completely owned by the person with whom we are dealing and nobody else.
The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others.
The information we are imparting or the request we are making takes on a special importance when we approach the situation with the name of the individual. From the waitress to the senior executive, the name will work magic as we deal with others.....
Excerpts from - ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ Dale Carnegie
Can you imagine the improvement in camaraderie achieved through the simple act of remembering one another’s names.
Let’s make it as easy as we can.