"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." - Leo Buscaglia
Over the years I have notice this about myself, whether at a restaurant, at the movies or at a café, whenever their is someone who is providing me a service, it's always important for me to ask for their name. I don’t do this just because I am friendly or because I am an extrovert or to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I intentionally do this because I want to genuinely express to this individual how much I appreciate their presence, their service and help. In other words, you matter and you have value. An interesting study was published in Brain Research magazine that shows certain parts of our brain light up when we hear our own name. (read more about it)
“A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
A couple of days ago, my wife and I were at Fred Meyer's grocery store. Once we had found all that we needed, we did what everyone else normally does, we got in line to check out. As we began placing our groceries on the conveyer belt, the checkout lady warmly greeted us. As she began scanning our things, I noticed she had a name badge, me being me, I said "Hi Cathy, how are you doing on this fine evening?" She looked at me kind of surprised that I knew her name with a look that said, "do I know this person?" She continued scanning a couple more things, when all of a sudden she stopped what she was doing and said “I am so sorry I did not recognize you. How have you been?” My wife and I looked at each other with a smile and said, "we've been good Cathy." After she shared a bit with us on how busy her day at work had been, she then asked me, “so, what have you been up to lately?” Now, I know I could have went along with it all and see where all this would go, but I felt I needed to tell her that we had never met before and that I had noticed her name on her badge. She looked at us a little embarrassed, but at the end, we had a good little conversation and were able to laugh about it. As we got our things together and were ready to leave, I said, "Cathy, it was a pleasure to meet you and thank you again for all of your help." On the way back home, I couldn’t help but think about Cathy's reaction as she heard me call her by her name. And I wondered how many Fred Meyer visitors would notice her name on her badge or care enough to say, excuse me, "what is your name?"
"A person's name is the great connection to their own identity and individuality. Some might say it is the most important word in the world to that person. It is the one way we can easily get someone's attention. It is a sign of courtesy and a way to recognizing them."
As someone who currently works in the retail world, I know there are times when it can feel like I am seen only as an object used as a means to an end. And that's ok, cause it's in my job description. So when I am at work and on the clock, I am here to provide a service to our everyday customers. But I also want to clarify something here, I am not talking about memorizing people’s names. What I am talking about, is taking the time to make a human connection. Sometimes we can be so caught up with ourselves and with what we are doing that we can miss out on an opportunity to practice kindness. (Tweet This) I can't tell you enough how this one simple practice can show others how much you value and appreciate them as a human being. It's the little things in life that can make all the difference in someone's day. (Tweet This) So let me encourage you the next time you are eating at one of your go-to restaurants, getting your snacks for the movie, ordering your favorite cup of coffee or when checking out at the grocery store, take the time to just simply ask, excuse me "what is your name?" and watch them light up.
"The use of their name will ensure they will remember how you made them feel."
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