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How to Win Friends and Influence People

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Each Mother’s Day the Boys and Girls in our congregation stand up and sing, “I know a name, a glorious name, greater than any other”. This song came to mind while I was advised to read the book by Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by a wonderful associate. In this book, there are two entire chapters dedicated to the tactics and techniques in getting people to like you all based on remembering a person’s name. Mr. Carnegie speaks about President Roosevelt’s ability to recall the names of his entire staff and the secret behind Andrew Carnegie’s success simply being to remember names of everyone he met. He states, “The executive that tells me he can’t remember names is at the same time telling me he can’t remember a significant part of his business and is operating on quicksand.” These chapters got me thinking about how names and people have impacted my life.

When I was in the 11th grade we had to do a report and I choose the topic, “Etiquette”. I remember that the queen of Etiquette, Emily Post, had spoken of the importance of remembering a person’s name. To this day, I always try and spell the person’s name in my head upon introduction or/and if I don’t remember somebody’s name when I am introducing a person I say, “He/She has the most interesting name, can you please spell it for so and so” It seems to work great, unless they have the name Sam or Bob, then I think they catch on to my lack of remember their name. If Emily Post, President Roosevelt and Dale Carnegie strongly suggest the importance of remembering names, then there has to be something to it.

When I was teaching elementary school, one of the most effective ways to teach a child is to learn and use their name daily in the classroom. While I was teaching 1st grade, I made sure to say each students name, 3 times a day, I have to add that I did tally for the first couple of times, but then it became habit (Yelling or Scolding the Student didn’t count). It was fun to have parents of the shy students come into the classroom because they always would tell me that their child loved being in my class, and I would simple tell the parents that they really just liked the attention and positive reinforcement of me saying their name repeatedly throughout the day. My kids LOVE it when I say there names and I secretly think they like to mimic me and overly use my name in vain.

So how important is it in remember names? Today I took the challenge to call every person I met by their first name because how important is a name?

I started off the day on a bad note. I was calling for my daughter Audrey to come downstairs and pick up her toys and on repeated occasion (which I seem to do over and over again) I kept yelling my 2 year old Emma’s name instead. Finally Audrey looks at me and says, “Mom, I am Audrey”. I instantly flashback, to my mother, who had 10 children, and would always get our names wrong, not only would she get the name wrong, but she would call us up to 7 names before she would look us in the eye and say, “You are the one”. The name calling would go something like this, “Katie, Beth, Christina, Jacob, Rebecca… whatever your name is, I am looking at you, get over here”. I have to confess that sometimes I call my son, Ben, my brother’s names… “Matthew, Jacob, Justin, Mike, Nick, BENJAMIN!” Audrey did eventually clean up her mess, but then she does give me that look… the “not again” look that I am sure I gave my mom.

I then get a call from my cousin, Julie, and she instantly says, “Hi Devin” (Devin is her husband) we laughed and she corrected herself. The rest of they day I greeted people by their first name, remembered to say, Thank you Liam, to our waiter and even got to know the window cleaner, Blair. I met Tyler at Mavericks who takes my money for soda and Chris who gave us dessert after our date night. I asked everyone I met, “What is Your Name” and with a HUGE smile they would tell me.

I sat back and wondered if, by saying their name, I had made an impact in their life (my husband did say I most likely had made them feel all warm and tingly inside, but he does have a sarcasm history) or if they thought I was a crazy lady going to stalk them in the future. I will never know the impact of knowing the names had on the people I met at this exact time, but you can bet that I am going to keep it up and try to aspire to the greats by remembering the names of people I encounter. It is a great habit to get into, putting others first. I have to remember that people like to feel important and a name brands them with who they are and what they want to become. Everyone wants to aspire to be wonderful and maybe by having a strange lady at the drive through know just a little about you can inspire confidence to be better. So going back to the song the kids sing in the congregation at Mother’s Day, “I know a name a glorious name, sweeter than any other”, I can truly say that I know a lot of names and each name is sweeter than the next.



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