What is in a name? What does a name was a bout a person? More importantly, what does your name mean to you?
As you all can tell, my name is pretty rough for most people to grow accustomed to saying. For a lifetime I've struggled with my Greek name. As a child I hated that it was strange and troublesome to most. As an adult, I love that it is unique and holds Greek symbolism.
In keeping with in Greek culture, I was named after a saint of the Orthodox church, and in my case, Saint Alexios, the Man of God. People have always been challenged with my name's Greek pronunciation, Alex-EE-ah. My friends even came up with tricks to help others, like Alex-see-ya-later. So with all these challenges, it means a tremendous amount to me when people make the effort and say my name correctly. It makes me feel important and special.
Don't most of us like the sound of our name? Don't we enjoy the feeling that generally comes along with hearing it (unless your in trouble with mom)? Have you noticed how successful naming programs are like, naming stadiums, schools at a university, bricks in a wall, seats, or just about anything that can be branded and marked with a name? They're popular because people take pride in their names. For that reason, it's important for us to learn others' names.
So often we attend parties or networking events, only to discover we haven't retained the name of a single person we met. Then it feels so rude not to say a person's name the next time you see each other. We walk away saying, "I'm so bad with names." You are not alone, as most of us are. I don't think it's a matter of self-awareness. We readily admit our problems recalling names. Maybe a little is required in the department of self-improvement, but all in all names are challenging.
When we do get names right, it enables us to build a foundation for a relationship. When you learn a person's name, you are telling that person you care to know him or her. It makes people feel accepted and liked. There are known masters and the name game, like Bill Clinton, whose uncanny ability to remember names helped pave his path to the White House.
In effort to solve the problem of remembering names, many techniques have been developed to help us learn.
There are even classes built around helping people develop this skill.
My wonderful mentor and sounding board, Rhonda Shasteen, taught me one of Mary Kay's best life lessons, which is to treat people like they are wearing a sign saying "Make me feel Important." We can take the first step in doing that by learning a person's name, no matter what it takes.