Your mother sewed your name on your underwear for a reason. Should anything happen to you, someone had to know your name. The road to your heart starts with your name. Not for nothing did Dale Carnegie call your name the sweetest sound in the world.
You are now more personally responsible for your success than ever before. Large companies need less people. You must act as if you are in business for yourself even if you work for someone else. You must create entrepreneurial streams of income for yourself.
The time has never been more ripe. Your opportunity has never been greater. You have never had a bigger or more impressive competitive advantage. Your competitive advantage is you and how you treat people.
The simple and real interest you can take in people is more compelling and more interesting than anything you could possibly say about your product. Almost all you need concern yourself with, when you business network, is capturing and enjoying and appreciating someones name.
Now, please, listen to me very carefully. I want you to hear everything they say. I want you to see all they show you. But, remember, all that is meaningless if you dont know their name.
Five years ago I started facilitating networking meetings for my company Freedom Builders in Atlanta, GA. I go to many other networking meetings at other organizations, too. I love it. Sometimes I network at as many as three meetings a day for many days in a row.
All the friends Ive made, all the customers Ive attracted, all the money Ive made would not have been possible had I not made it a priority to remember and use and relish the sound of my friends names. I write it big and bold on the nametags I make for them when they sign in at my events. I wave it in a flourish to help the ink dry and call it the courtesy wave, which always gets a laugh. Their name is a very big deal. When I see someone I havent seen in months and say their name with a smile, it unfailingly impresses them and everyone around me. It causes them to be very friendly and receptive when I follow up with a phone call.
Heres another reason to catch and hold onto someones name that could only come from the trenches of experience and that is - to say it loud and clear when you want to capture their attention, like when they talk on and on about themselves or their product and you have had enough. Its kind of an occupational hazard when you network. Inevitably we fall into conversation with a novice, which can be excruciating if they dont pause between sentences. Saying their name is like grabbing them by the throat. Not the most civilized image, I know, but it makes my point in a New Jersey kind of way.
Capture someones name and youve got something firm to stand on while you listen to what they have to say. You have something firm to grab when you want to capture their attention. And if by chance they actually intrigue you and you really want to follow up with them, you are equipped if and only if you know their name.