The Culture Killer: I’m Bad With Names – Here’s the Easy Fix

Knowing people’s names is over 50% of our culture and personal engagement! I have a friend, Ryan Larson, who was receiving an award at a formal banquet. The president of the company stood on stage and read a list of Ryan’s accomplishments, and then summarized by saying, ”And it’s my distinct pleasure to recognize and bring on stage – Bryan Lawson!” We all clapped but no one moved. I leaned over to Ryan and said, ”Ryan, he means you.” The image of Ryan, smirking on stage next to the company president is burned in all our brains. That gaffe was laughed about decades later. The president looked silly and inept for years simply by mispronouncing Ryan’s name – totally embarrassing. I know the president was told of the faux pas and simply blew it off as no big deal. He said “they’ll get over it.” No apology, no heartfelt, “I’m sorry,” no explanation – he simply didn’t care and was stunned that anyone had even noticed. Really – C’mon man!

I have friends who have two daughters Marion and Melissa. I could never seem to remember which one was Melissa and which was Marion. I noticed that Marion is much taller than Melissa, and now every time I see them, I think Mountain Marion. I always call her Marion, while my other friends just say “hi.” It matters.

It sounds corny and stupid, Mountain Marion – but it is exactly right! That is the main point of how we build memory – we have to make it unique or it gets forgotten. Our brains don’t think in font or lines on a page – we think in pictures. The more bizarre the picture, the more memorable. My goal was to always know Marion’s name in order to be respectful. Make the memory as outlandish as possible and you’ll remember it! The person you are speaking with will definitely appreciate you knowing their name.

We all know how great it feels when someone remembers our name. In the neighborhood or at meetings, we forget names and say,  “Hey You,” or “What’s up Buddy,” or “Hey good to see you,” all generic and not personal. We even avoid people because we are embarrassed since we should know their name but can’t remember it. If we forget, as we all do, we should simply ask them again. We all like to tell people our names or be asked – it’s a good thing. And when they tell us again, this time really LISTEN!!!!!!! It’s also getting tougher to remember names in a global economy with many nationalities represented – the names are no longer simply Tom, Mary, and Bob.

Ok, here’s how we fix this!

1. Please stop saying – “I’m no good with names.” When we say that out loud or in our minds, we are simply wiring our nervous system to disengage from even trying. Or we are giving ourselves an easy out, to not even try,  or convince ourselves we’re like everybody else.  It’s not OK. We are killing teams, cultures, and the momentum of ideas, all because we don’t know people’s names.

2. When you hear a new name – pronounce it with the person a couple times – and spell it out in your mind or in the air. Visualize the name like it’s in a dictionary, so you can pronounce their name in the moment; it’s less about trying to get the spelling right. Visualize the names in your head like Ste-PHON,  Sha-KNEE-Sha, or An-TONY-io – spell it in your mind like clouds in the sky with 100 foot high pink cartoon letters – not New Times Roman 9 point font – make the visual you create in your mind memorable.

3. Say their name out loud 3 times within 20 seconds of hearing it. “Oh, so you are Janice,” “Janice it’s nice to meet you,” and “Janice, you said you are from where?” “Oh that’s interesting, Janice.” It sounds just fine to them since they like hearing their name. We are trying to wire our brain to remember.

4. As you hear or see the person, make a mental connection to someone else you know with that name.  I was at a convention recently, talking with a company representative named Scott. I learned his name during our first conversation and I immediately thought of Scott Carter, an old high school friend he resembled. When I saw him 2 days later I passed by him and said, “Hi, Scott.” He was gobsmacked that I knew his name. I was the customer and he had long forgotten my name. I enhanced my brand by knowing his name.

5. Learn the spouses name. In my past roles I had occasion to plan national meetings, and would invite award winners and they would bring their spouse. I would study, I mean really study, on the plane the attendee list, the spouses, the guest faces and names to get as familiar as possible with whom I was going to meet. Yes – it’s intentional.

“Recognition is most valuable based on the amount of time that someone puts into that recognition.”   

Poems handwritten, even with misspellings are always more valuable than roadside flowers bought on the way home. At the reception, I knew the employee and would say. “This must be Brenda.” The spouse would light up and they would tell others for years about someone knowing their name – this is how a culture is born. The employee also got huge positive splash-back, as the spouse thought I knew their name because the employee had mentioned their spouse to me.

6. Make your name memorable and easy for others to remember. I had a friend whose name I could never remember. Was it Katherine or Kathleen? And she reminded me, “Oh it’s easy- “I’m Katherine-The- Great!” The connection was made, it was memorable and since then I have always remembered her name. People introduce me as a speaker and ask, “How do I pronounce your last name?” I say “True-Nick, like False-Nick, True-Nick.” They always get it right.

Get the name right and we can build better cultures, better friendships, and lasting value.

Jim True-Nick

21 Comments
  1. Cialis Prix 10mg cialis tablets for sale Synthroid No Prescription Action Du Clomid Side Effects For Cephalexin

  2. Get Real Macrobid Ups In Canada With Doctor Consult cialis 20mg for sale Kamagra Gel 100 Mg Genereic Viagara Cialis 36

  3. What Is The Quickest Way To Get Viagra Propecia Can Stop Baldness generic viagra Acheter Priligy Dapoxetine En Ligne Canada

  4. Kamagra Capsules 100 Mg viagra prescription Pink Eye And Amoxicillin Kamagra Oral Jelly Flavours Amoxicillin Recommended Adult Doses

  5. Buy Lasix Cheap Online Cialis Que Es Yahoo cialis 5 mg best price usa Priligy Es Bueno

  6. Utah Online Pharmacies Effetti Cialis 10 Precio De Cialis En Estados Unidos cialis generic Discount On Celebrex Amoxicillin And Pinke Eye Broadway Services Generic Viagra

  7. Does Zithromax Treat Strep order levitra from canada Venta De Cialis Precio Sexy Tadalis Sx Soft Breakdance Werbung Tanz

  8. One thing I’d really like to say is that car insurance cancellation is a dreaded experience and if you are doing the proper things as being a driver you’ll not get one. A lot of people do obtain notice that they have been officially dumped by their insurance company and several have to struggle to get added insurance from a cancellation. Cheap auto insurance rates tend to be hard to get after the cancellation. Having the main reasons pertaining to auto insurance cancelling can help motorists prevent losing one of the most significant privileges accessible. Thanks for the thoughts shared through your blog.

  9. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you just shared this useful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I think that is among the such a lot significant information for me. And i’m glad studying your article. However wanna statement on some normal things, The website taste is great, the articles is in point of fact great : D. Excellent task, cheers

  11. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and appearance. I must say you have done a amazing job with this. In addition, the blog loads super quick for me on Opera. Excellent Blog!

  12. Purchase Dutasteride Website Buy Tetracycline Antibiotics Cialis Diario 5 Mg Precio cialis 20mg for sale Clomid Amenorrhee Avec Actualite Propecia Buy Mirtazapine In Uk

  13. Viagra Online Pharamcy cialis without prescription Healtyman

  14. What Happened To Alli viagra Online Ordering Propecia

  15. Online Pharmacy Sales For Cialis cheap viagra and proscar El Cialis Femenino Buy Minocycline I Line On Line Viagra Pastilla Azul

  16. Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  17. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually understand what you are speaking about! Bookmarked. Please also discuss with my site =). We could have a hyperlink change arrangement between us!

  18. I believe that avoiding processed foods is a first step for you to lose weight. They will often taste excellent, but highly processed foods possess very little nutritional value, making you consume more just to have enough energy to get over the day. For anyone who is constantly having these foods, moving over to cereals and other complex carbohydrates will assist you to have more vitality while eating less. Good blog post.

  19. Thanks for the suggestions you have contributed here. One more thing I would like to state is that computer memory specifications generally rise along with other developments in the technologies. For instance, whenever new generations of cpus are made in the market, there is certainly usually a related increase in the size and style calls for of both laptop or computer memory in addition to hard drive space. This is because the application operated simply by these cpus will inevitably surge in power to benefit from the new technological innovation.

  20. I have witnessed that intelligent real estate agents everywhere you go are warming up to FSBO Marketing and advertising. They are recognizing that it’s more than merely placing a poster in the front place. It’s really in relation to building associations with these traders who at some time will become customers. So, when you give your time and effort to aiding these traders go it alone — the “Law of Reciprocity” kicks in. Interesting blog post.

  21. Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

Leave a Reply