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The Sweetest and Most Important Sound

#leadership connecting Oct 04, 2020

Unfortunately, this week when I sent out a message highlighting two of our teacher leaders who were special guests on our Empowered Educators webinar; I incorrectly typed the name of one of our teacher leaders, Sarah Douglas. 

Sarah is one of the most valued teacher leaders at East Wake Academy.

My deepest apologies Sarah.

When Sarah let me know about my mistake I remembered what Dale Carnegie most famously wrote in his best selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. 

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language”

When I first heard this phrase, I felt it was one of the most valuable pieces of advice I was given. Being an educator for over 20 years and currently a consultant, I have been fortunate enough to meet tens of thousands of people. It is critical that I work to make people feel safe and appreciated. 

With my personality type, according to DISC Leadership Profile, being more of a task oriented "let's get things done" person, I have made this error one time too many. 

Recently, I was reminded of the power of hearing your name when my daughter suggested we go out for a specialty coffee at Starbucks. The staff greeted her by name and as they handed us the coffee I noticed they had written her name on our cups. I believe this is one of the little touches that has made Starbucks customers feel very special.

It got me thinking, how using someone’s name in conversation can help in so many ways.

  • You can personalize a conversation and it will make the customer feel special
  • It’s respectful and people will be more inclined to accept you and connect with you
  • When the conversation feels a lot more inviting, people will be inclined to open up
  • If someone is distracted and they hear their name, you can draw them back in

Now that we know why it is important to remember names, what can we do to make it easier? 

I looked back at my copy of Carnegie's book and noticed that I had left a mark there with a note to listen to John Maxwell's lesson on remembering names. 

Think L.I.R.A. every time and you will taste the success of great conversations:

  1. Look and Listen – look at the person speaking.  Focus and listen to what they are saying.
  2. Impression – create an impression of the person in your mind.  Look at their physical features, what they are wearing and any other relevant details.  On the phone, write down their name.
  3. Repetition – say the person’s name as they introduce themselves.  Use it again during the conversation and at the end.  Where appropriate repeat it again later.
  4. Association – create a link with someone you know or famous, so when you look at them you remember them.  Other examples include relating names to an animal, object, place or thing.

Sarah, my deepest apologies for not double checking my work. I hope you will forgive me and most importantly, I hope my mistake accelerates the learning of others through this short lesson. 

Your friend, 


P.S. There is still chance to learn from directly John Maxwell and other thought leaders this Friday October 9th (Live2Lead 2020). Just click the link below.


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