One of the greatest lessons I have learned at GFC over twenty years is the power of someone’s name. I have Debbie Altman to thank for that. When I first came to the church, she had a black book she kept with her. When she met someone for the first time, she would write their name down in the book and try to remember it next time she saw them.
I can be kind of competitive so I tried to remember all the names of the people at GFC as well. This works out pretty good when the church is small but as we grew, it became quite a challenge. Here are some random thoughts about the power of someone’s name:
- It makes someone feel “known” when you use their name.
- You give someone value and worth when you use their name.
- Try saying their name and smiling at the same time – big win.
- If you can’t remember, be honest. People give grace when you are honest about forgetting.
- Most names have a special meaning or family significance…great thing to ask about.
- Few people change their names – so it is something that lasts a lifetime. (I did change my name to Todd in the second grade…such a great experience. Changed it back after a year.)
- You don’t have to remember a lot about a person but if you remember their name…they will remember you.
One of the greatest tools you can use as a leader, a friend or a mentor is the ability to remember and use someone’s name.