What's in a name?
Well actually quite a lot - I recently had an altercation with a bricklayer in my street about problems with parking while they were working next door. I already new him by name and reputation but this was the first time he had met me and so I introduced myself. For the rest of the conversation he referred to me by name. Did it make a difference? - you bet it did.
And it was a significant difference...
I felt that I was no longer a grumbling resident but a person with a reasonable complaint that was subsequently resolved. I had empathy to his situation and felt that he had some regard for me as a person.
So every year I try to add something new to my wedding work and my mission for the rest of this year is to learn and remember the names of all in the wedding party. Previously I thought it was all too hard. When being introduced to the bridesmaids it has been a case of in one ear out the other. My mind has been full of other things - lighting, composition, exposure, where's the dress, what are we doing etc etc - its just too hard to remember all these names - WRONG ANDY!!!
For my last two weddings I have made a conscious decision to try this out. I make a game of it and come up with "memory aids" so
Kia = Kia the car
Mika = my old dog Miko
Damian = ex pro surfer Damian Hardman
Sam = Old friend from Melbourne Sam Larwill...
And guess what - it works. No longer am I saying "can the tall dude stand next to the blond" Its now "hey Curtis can you stand next to Perry and pass the flowers to Gemma". Its not just better ITS WAY BETTER. It builds rapport, makes directing the group easier and its just a whole lot more professional.
I recently spoke to marriage celebrant Bernadette Smith about this. She also runs and performs at the Stage Door Restaurant on Magnetic Island. I saw the show a couple of years ago and was amazed when half way through the night she was onstage and referred to each table by name, what they were celebrating, where they were from etc. To say I was impressed is an understatement. To Bernadette it's a way of building rapport with her customers/audience. People take it as a compliment and feel like they are genuinely part of the show and more than just bums on seats.
Politicians, sales people and marketeers all know the value of "working the room" and when they are introduced to someone new they have an uncanny ability to remember that name.
The extraordinary thing about the mind is that I now have the names of my last two bridal parties hard wired into my memory so yes - Sheena, Amanda, Nicole, Tristan, Jason, Daniel, Mika, Kia, Aidre, Emma, Tom, Scott, Sam and Damian - I remember you all. And when I bump into you in the street instead of "I remember you from that wedding" it will be "Hey Sheena hows it going? Have you seen Nicole lately"
Now that is simply a whole lot better than "hey you".