Monday, May 31, 2010

On the importance of names

I was at Home Depot yesterday picking up some bricks to lay out in the front yard. And as I approached the cashier’s counter, I saw that the employee working there was understandably unenthused about his job. As it happens, once I walked up to him I saw his name tag on his shirt, I gave a cheerful “Whats up Chris?”. Almost instantly there was a huge smile on his face at the sound of his name and he immediately became jolly at the spot. And as a result, he treated me better at the counter.
What happened here was nothing new. It has been known for literal millennia that people respond positively to the sound of their name. This is why Dale Carnegie placed such a huge emphasis on this principle in his book “how to win friends and influence people.” But despite this, people still substitute “man” or “dude” for actual real names.
Nicknames are even more effective in this regard, especially if it is a name that you yourself make up for that person. It all comes down to this. Using names is a more personable way of interacting, that’s what people like.