A few weeks ago I attended a Savannah Banana's game with my friend and mentor Kent Williams. Kent is a larger than life personality and has made a living making other people feel valued as a professional speaker.
The reason he has been so successful is because he doesn't just make others feel valued while he's on a stage or holding a microphone, but also in the most mundane places.
Kent and I walk into the lobby of the Hilton where we are staying and Kent throws his hands in the air, "Whaddup Z?!" One of the employees working the front desk daps Kent up and they go into a seemingly familiar conversation. Before long, "Z" is handing us cookies and bottles of water, of which you're only supposed to receive once at check-in.
Over the next three days, Kent does this to (almost) every person we pass by. Some encounters go better than others, but there is one theme that ties them all together: within the first ten seconds of the encounter, Kent will learn and repeat the person's name.
To Kent, it's simply about letting that person know, "I see you. I value you." What better way to do that than to say their name out loud.
One of the most ironic things about society today is how many people wear name tags and how seldom we choose to use their name.
Next time you're in a coffee shop, at a restaurant, or checking out at the grocery story, look down and use the name of the person helping you. Who knows? It could be the only time they hear it that day.
Take the first chance you get to thank someone using their first name.
What feelings or emotions register for you when someone uses your name?
"A person's name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnegie