I remember as a child in school there was one book that never left my side and that was the dictionary. My primary school teachers would always use fresh and exciting words to expand our vocabulary and then we would try to use it in context. Over time I have moved away from word discovery and have become comfortable with words that I use in my day to day conversations. A sad state I know!
The school yards were tough growing up as we expanded our vocabulary. We became more aware of new words and just like any discovery into language, it isn’t long before you uncover the bad words. When I was in Thailand recently I learnt how to say “small penis” in Thai and it wasn’t long until I was tormenting my friends with the local language. When I look back at the school yards the insults started with poo poo head which then turned to idiot when then turned to ******* (use your imagination).
“Sticks and stone may break your bones but words will never hurt you” I was taught by my teachers in a misrable attempt to ignore the taunts. It never worked because as I learned over time, words are powerful and if you do not agree with me you should swear at your boss tomorrow. In my twenty six years on this earth I have learnt that there is one word that was more powerful then any other word. Take a moment to think about what you believe the word might be and I will give you a hint:- it is in every language.
It is your name.
Not my name
Have you ever had a conversation with a complete stranger and they asked you for your name? How does it feel?
You might think to yourself “Wow, this person actually wants to know my name”. The number one topic for human beings is a conversation that revolves around ourselves and you are the centre of the universe. You think everyone should watch your favourite television show, you know the best tasting meal is your favourite one and no other music artists or band is as good as the one that you like. Yes sir, everything you like is the best. That is why we always look for ourselves first when we look at a photograph.
Who you are, what you stand for and your entire life can be summarized into your first and last name and when someone asks for you for one of those it feels pretty awesome. You may start to feel a connection of rapport because you have something in common (the topic of you) and a sense of validation because someone else thinks that you are special enough to ask for your name.
The first time I purposely used a strangers name was when I was ordering my lunch from a take away chain in the Westfield shopping centre. Most people who work in retail are required to wear a name tag so this is an easy way to start. As I have started the conversation with the assistant I was quick to notice his name tag (so I can use it later in conversation without making it look obvious) and then proceeded to place my order. We all know when you order food there will be the up sell on the drink or extra food and when I was asked if I would like a drink, I relied “Yes Brian, I’ll have a coke zero”.
The moment he heard his name used in a conversation his eyes lit up and gave me a smile. In that moment he wasn’t just another fast food clerk or another empty face in the crowd. He was Brian who happened to work at a fast food chain. He felt appreciated and I knew it made his day because not only did his vocals change but I was instantly rewarded with a free up size.
Now I am not for a second recommending you start using other peoples name to profit. I am tell you to start using others names during conversation because you will be the highlight of their day. You will instantly improve another persons energy levels more then any coffee or energy drink and at the same time you never know when you will meet this person again…