What’s In A Name?


What are you doing to make your workplace better for others today? Regardless of your scope of influence, every single one of us has the ability to positively impact someone’s life each and every day while we go about the business of our work, and to positively impact our corporate culture.

Here’s an easy way: call people by their given name.  The national institute of health published a study on the positive impact in the brain when human beings hear their first name used. But beyond the pure (and impressive) scientific results, we all can relate to the sense of value and recognition we all feel when people call us by name.  In the workplace, when you take the time to learn, remember, and then use teammates first names, you’re sending a message to them that they are valuable, unique, and they matter!

Perhaps you’re like me and remembering names isn’t your strong suit.  Then lucky for you, you know what you need to intentionally work on!  I have become quite comfortable saying to people that I know I should know, “I’m so sorry but please tell me your name again.  I want to remember it.”  And then I repeat it back to them while shaking their hand or if appropriate sharing a hug.  Allowing myself to be vulnerable and admit my fault (I can’t remember names) followed by my willingness to immediately correct my flaw and value them (by calling them by name) adds to the benefits of the exchange and helps to build a culture of authenticity.  There are a variety of exercises you can do to remember names like repeating it in your head, saying it out loud when you first hear it, connecting their name to something familiar about them so you remember the connection, etc.  I have found some success with all of those techniques and I’m not afraid to resort to humbly admitting that I simply need to hear it again.

The culture of a workplace matters because people matter.  Calling others by their first name is one simple and profound way you can show those around you that you value their worth.


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