By Prof. Bharat J. Gajjar
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one: ?What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?? Surely this was some kind of a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.
Just before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count towards her quiz grade. ?Absolutely,? said the professor. ?In your career, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is to smile and say, ?hello?.? I?ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
This message was stunning to me when I read it because when I was working, I would only remember the names of the people that I worked with. As for the other people around me, I would say ?Hi? to them, but not know their names. After reading this message, I became more aware of how important it is to remember everyone'snames. I try very hard to remember someone'sname and when I address them by their first name, they feel as though I am their friend and I care.
When I was working for DuPont DeNeumors and Co., the General Director (highest level management) would come during Christmas time and shake hands with all the employees and address everyone by their first names. His name is Dr Russ Peterson. Later he became Governor of Delaware. When I saw him 30 years later at a party, he came over to me and addressed me by my first name. I was stunned how he was able to remember my name.
I knew a man in India who told me that he met Mahatma Gandhi and after many years when he met him again, Mahatma Gandhi called him by his first name.
I try very hard to remember someone'sname and when I address them by their first name, they feel as though I am their friend and I care.
Once I saw a TV show where the host asked 100 people in the audience to stand up and say their full names. The guest of the show that day was able to remember and tell all the 100 audience members their names. This is an extreme talent, but you should remember the names of the people with whom you are in contact.
My brother used to travel around the world and he kept a diary carrying everyone'snames. When he would go to visit that city again and call on friends, he would know all the children'snames and other family details. One of his favourite acts is to give at least one meaningful compliment a day. I try my best to put this into practice as well.
I knew a man who had such a problem with taking time over recalling someone'sname that he called everyone by the same name. For example, he would say ?Hi Joe? to every man he passed by. He annoyed everyone by doing this and not taking the effort to learn anyone'sname.
Remembering people'snames is a good thing to teach your children when they are young.
Even God likes to be called by His first name. We as human beings also like to be called by our first names, don'twe?
(The writer can be contacted at Hockessin, DE 19707-1611, US; [email protected])