Monday, March 14, 2011

The Name Game

The Name Game     
How many times have you heard someone say, “…oh, man, I’m terrible with names.”  I hear it often.  The truth is, remembering names is another lost art.   

We’re so busy, wrapped up in our own “stuff” that we either forget or don’t make an effort to remember names of our students, coworkers, Guests, staff, and even new friends or acquaintances. 

So the OneMoreStep thought for this week: What if we were the exception?  What if we were the one person in the office or on the team that remembers people’s names, and uses them in conversations?  Guaranteed magic maker…every time.

“They” say it’s a proven fact that people like to hear their own name.  I’m not sure what the scientific research behind this is, but I tend to agree with the sentiment.  When we remember someone’s name and use it when we call him or her, talk to them, introduce them, coach them, sell to them, and/or teach them…we make them feel good.  It let’s them know that we were listening when we first met them, and that we cared enough to remember. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”   Remembering people’s names certainly shows them that you care.

The best salespeople, leaders, teachers, and communicators are those that master the art of connecting with people.  I love John Maxwell’s book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.  A great way to make that connection with people is to be interested enough to stop, take five, and make the effort to remember their name. 

Remembering names could be the OneMoreStep that allows:

·      Teachers to gain credibility with their students and their students’ parents
·      Vice Presidents to connect with and inspire their teams and organizations
·      Salespeople to strengthen client relationships and ultimately close sales
·      Political Leaders to gain the trust and respect of their communities

Most people will miss this opportunity.  They won’t remember names, and in turn they will fail to connect with people.  This week, perhaps members of the OneMoreStepRevolution community will be the exception. 

Remember the names of people you meet this week – Guests, new coworkers, new students, new staff members, and even our servers, bartenders, bus drivers, and flight attendants. Go OneMoreStep…remember his or her name the next time you see them and use it a couple of times while talking to them.  Make them feel special.  Show them you listened.  Then…they will know you care. 

Two for the Road…

Quick story about Craig:

I can remember the first time I met Craig Parsons.  I was a Sales Manager; about 25 years old, and I had just made the jump from hotel operations over to Sales & Marketing at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.  Relatively new to the department, one day I was walking to my “officle” when a coworker introduced me to Craig.  He was classic Disney; smiling and full of energy he stuck out his hand.  I naturally smiled right back and went in for a handshake.  I went with a quick, “I’m Taylor…nice to meet you.”  He responded with, “Hi Taylor…Craig, pleasure to meet you.”  That was about the extent of the initial meeting. 

I would often see Craig around the sales offices at the Celebration campus in the days following our initial introduction.  Every single time I saw him he always said, “hi Taylor”, and proceeded to strike up a quick conversation.  Sometimes it would be for 2 minutes, sometimes 5 minutes, and sometimes it would only be for 30 seconds…but he always remembered and called me by my name. 

After about a couple of weeks I asked a buddy of mine in the office if he knew who this really nice guy, Craig, was.  I couldn’t get over how he always remembered not only my name, but seemingly everyone else’s as well.  My buddy laughed, shook his head, and said, “T, that’s Craig Parsons…Vice President of International Travel Industry Sales & Marketing.”   I remember laughing at myself.  I also remember how awesome I felt, that a Vice President not only remembered my name, but that he also took the time to connect with me. 

That was six years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.  If you’re a VP, Director, or someone in a leadership role…take the time to remember the names of people on your teams.  You just never know what kind of an impact that may have on them.

Quick Walt Disney Story:

Somewhere along my journey back at Disney, I heard a great Walt story.  I’m not sure I have all the details, but I’ll share it with you anyway…you’ll get the picture.

One morning, shortly after Disneyland opened in 1955, Walt was walking the property.  (They say he was obsessed with combing every square inch of his creation.  I don’t blame him.)  He walked passed a custodial Cast Member who was pressure washing the asphalt in one of the areas in the park.  The custodial Cast Member stopped what he was doing and said, “Hello Mr. Disney…” 

Walt stopped, engaged the Cast Member, and told him, “We’re a first name company here; call me Walt.  What’s your name?” 

The Cast Member quickly replied, “oh, ok…well, my name’s Ed.” 

Three weeks later Ed was right back out in his area, pressure washing the asphalt one early morning and here came Walt…on one of his walks.  Ed picks up his head, raises his hand, and calls out to his boss who was about 25-30 yards away, “Good morning, Walt.”

According to the story, they say Walt was walking at a pretty quick pace…but he literally stopped on a dime, did a quarter turn, and charismatically goes, “Hey Ed…,” and kept right on walking.

How cool is that?  Ed probably felt like a million bucks just because Walt remembered his name.

Have a great day.


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