Boyceville, Wisconsin – my home town.
Most months I spend a weekend in Boyceville with my 90-year-old father and nephew Charlie. Our Friday night ritual is to go downtown for fish and chips at the Buckshot Bar.
As we sat waiting for our food last Friday, I watched people come in, greet each other by their first name, ask about the family, comment on the weather and speculate on the Packer’s chances of winning Sunday’s playoff game. Everyone used their friend’s first name in conversation.
Names have far more power than people imagine. Starting with our parents and siblings, our names became our identifier, the word people use when they want our attention. When someone says our name (even if they’re not talking to us), we turn toward them. It’s instinctual.
A few months ago, on a tour through a manufacturing plant in Buffalo, I noticed everyone greeted my guide: Hi Eric! Hey Eric! How’s it going Eric? And Eric responded to each greeting using the person’s first name. What a cool, friendly corporate culture.
Another day at lunch, a friend asked the server what her name was. “Bridget,” was the reply. She seemed surprised to be asked. My friend used Bridget’s name several times during our meal; each time Bridget seemed visibly pleased and gave great service.
As you meander through your days, make it a point to use people’s names. Try it on your spouse, your employees and your customers. It will make them feel recognized and remembered and provides a positive and lasting impression
At the end of the day, don’t we all want to go to a place where everybody knows your name?