Name Calling

Years ago I learned the most important rule of teaching.  I think I saw it first in Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends", but I've heard it re-iterated in leadership books, leadership workshops, and by influential peers and mentors.  The most impactful word you will ever say to someone is their name.  It's easy to remember the names of a handful of people you see every day.  However, we all have examples of people we don't see as routinely, or in such massive quantity that remembering them is actual work.  In the OR or on the marching band field, that work always pays off.  Not to mention, it's the right thing to do.  Interacting with peers is impersonal and distanced until you take the time to learn a name.  I keep a list, and add to it frequently.  I have tricks to remember names.  For common names, I try to learn something different about the person or create a nickname.  When I meet someone, I try to think of another person with the same name and associate them in my mind.  I practiced this when I was teaching 3 marching bands at a time, learning 300 names in a few weeks.  It took time and practice, but made my relationships and interactions much more meaningful.  

andrew blountComment