Whether you are attending a networking event or simply meeting someone new for a short coffee chat, first impressions are very important. You’ve probably heard this a lot, and it’s obviously true, so when you meet someone for the first time you dress up, smile, try hard to maintain eye contact, and do everything you can to try to leave the best first impression. However, if everyone else is doing this, how do you stand out from the crowd? The trick is here to not only to leave a great first impression, but leave a great first impression that lasts.
Here’s how: when you are talking with a person, say his/her name whenever possible. Instead of looking at someone and asking “Hi, how are you doing today?”, say something like “Hi John, how are you doing today?”. A name isn’t simply just a few letters put together. Your name is your identity; it’s who you are. When you call someone by his/her name, you are making the interaction more intimate and personal. This will immediately shorten the distance or gap between the two of you to create a more lasting impression. You will feel more like a friend to him/her, and less like a stranger on the street. Note: saying his/her name whenever possible doesn't mean saying his/her name in every sentence. Overdoing it will not bring you better results and may even have a negative impact.
Starbucks was amongst the first to adopt this technique and has continued to do 'til this very day. When you go to a Starbucks, they ask you for your name, and call you by your name when your drink is ready. They could just shout out the name of your drink (or a number on your receipt) but they insist on using your name. Why? Because it works. Next time you meet someone for the first time, give this a try and prepared to be amazed at how a personal touch can change everything.
Extended Reading: “I’ve Got A Name” – The Power of Positive Salutation