Tip of the Week

When in conversation with another person, use that person’s name.  When searching for the right words, don’t forget to use his/her name.

Recently, I thought about a very nice conversation I had with a gentleman not long ago.  I remembered some remarks he made to me.  It’s interesting.  The remarks I thought about had my name at the beginning of the sentence.  "Jim, I think you have a good point…."

My name (like yours) is special.  It is the only name I have and is a very important part of my identity.  My name is personal.  I react differently to hearing my name than other words I might hear.

Have you ever had an experience like this?  You come across a person in the mall or Target who you met elsewhere a few months ago.  The person says, "Hello (your name)."  You talk for a few moments and then you go on with your errands.  But–as you walk away, you immediately think, "She knew my name!  She remembered my name from a few months ago."

I’m not talking about a gimmick or a technique.  People see through such insincerity eventually.  I’m talking about showing a genuine interest in other people by taking the time and trouble to learn a person’s name and then using it.

You might say, "Well I’m not good with names."  OK.  But don’t give up on this.  Not yet.

When I meet someone (Like many of you, I meet a number of people each week, especially visitors at our church), I write that person’s name down if at all possible.  Writing the name down helps me to remember.  Also, if I see that person across the room and still don’t have the name, I usually ask someone else to help me with that person’s name.   This may seem obvious to some of you.  I am just trying to stress that making an effort is important.

If I see that person again and I still don’t have the name, I might as him again.  Usually, I will smile and say something like, "Now I met you not long ago and I really want to get your name down.  Will you help me again?"

I have found that most people are more than willing to give you their name again–and again.  This is especially true if they see that you are genuinely interested in knowing their name.  In fact, many people will appreciate the effort you are making.

I once knew a person who seemed to make little effort, if any toward learning people’s names.  She would constantly meet people and address them with, "Hey there!"   

Yes, there will be many times when you or I will not remember a name.  But–we don’t have to settle for "Hey there!" 

A name really matters to the person who owns it.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Tip of the Week

  1. Jim,
    I have to work hard at it. As I do, I seem to get better at it. I do think it goes with the whole package of sincerely caring about a person. And maybe it’s the first thing: get their name down!

  2. Not to take this too far, but the Name Thing seems to have almost spiritual dimensions… consider how we “call on the name of the LORD.” Or reflect on this… the gates of the Holy City will be inscribed with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel… and we, ourselves, will receive a stone with a name written on it (see Revelation).

    Thanks, Jim, for naming the need to pay attention to names! 🙂

  3. Jim, I am always reminded of this by my son. He is only 5 but is always fascinated when people at church who he does not think would know him, call him by name. If it happens to be a teenager it is even more impactful! Spencer will often say, “Mom, they know my name.”

    So, perhaps the old cheers song was pretty accurate!