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The Maintenance Management Blog

October 24, 2023

The Name Game

“I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.”

What is needed is a phone feature that will list the name of the person who’s calling even if you don’t have that person as a contact. So much easier to avoid those pesky telemarketers or scammers.Image: warehouse workers being introduced to each other

This amusing phrase reminded me of a short audio book I reviewed. The author discussed various first-interview techniques that would better a person’s chances of receiving a second interview with a company. Most of them I understood and thought were pretty obvious (proper grooming, arriving fifteen minutes before the scheduled interview, firm and confident handshake) but the one that impressed me was obtaining contact information and the follow up.

I remember a particular interview I attended many years ago. I was their first applicant. I was excited and eagerly took the first available opportunity to drive three hours to meet with the employers.

The interview went okay. What I remember most is that I sat in a room with three people but answering questions from only two. The third never smiled, never spoke, and seemed pretty unhappy about being there. I don’t know why the attitude was exhibited, but I included this person in my answers with eye contact and smiles.

I don’t know how much influence the individual had but I didn’t get the job (Their loss. Lol). Maybe, I would have made a better impression had I known about this one aspect of interviews: When you meet someone for an interview, remember the name. Get his/her contact information, which includes phone number and email address. If you meet with a panel, get everyone’s contact information. Immediately after the interview, and I mean before you drive out of the parking lot, text each and thank them for the interview. Then immediately upon arriving home, deliver a follow up email to them, again thanking them, and briefly reminding them of a few salient points on why you would be a good hire. At the very least, do this first thing the following morning.

This is an excellent idea for prospective employees…and for someone with my hobby, writing. As an author, I want to obtain contact information from every appearance I make, whether on radio, television, libraries, bookstores, or wherever I am promoting my books. I'm going to thank the audience but make sure I recognize and thank every individual who help coordinate the event.

Remember the old adage – don’t upset the people you meet on the way up, because you’ll meet those same people on the way down.

Why is remembering names important? Several reasons.

Courtesy and respect. Using someone's name during the conversation shows that you're paying attention to the person, even if it's casual talk. "So, Bob, what do you think about the Cubs this year? (If Bob is a Cardinals fan, you might end up in a friendly argument.) Saying Bob's name shows you're engaged in the discussion.

Ego. Okay, I'm not talking about having an inflated ego, but don't you feel good when someone says your name? It's about recognition. Sure, you're part of a company team, but if a supervisor singles out the individual members of the team by name, isn't that a bit better than being just 'the group?'

Good for business. While you may not need to remember the name during the conversation, what if you meet later? Are you going to remember then? What if you had discussed business or working a negotiation? If you've forgotten the person's name, how are you viewed? Maybe as someone who didn't pay attention, didn't really care in the first place, or maybe a little self-centered.

Tips to remember names:

One habit to have is immediately after being introduced, during the handshake, repeat the person's name. "I'm Bob." "Hey, Bob, nice to meet you." Doing this helps put his name into your head. "I'm Bob." "Oh hey, how are?" See how casual that response is? It may show that you're not really caring about the introduction.

Look the person in the eye when saying the name. Again, that helps reinforce the person's identity. You put a face to a name. How many times have you watched a movie and a familiar actor comes on screen? You've seen the person in another picture but can't remember his name.

One of tricks used in remembering names is word association. For instance, Bob has a rather large proboscis. You might remember his name by giving him his own nickname. Big Nose Bob. I wouldn't recommend sharing that but if it works… Okay a better example is, during the conversation you learn Bob likes fishing. What's a common element in fishing? A bobber. Get it? (Besides, Bobber Bob is better than the other nickname.)

Another way to remember is to ask the person to spell his name. "Uh, B-O-B." Okay, maybe not the best example. People do that with me a lot. "Is that with a V or PH?"

Does the person have a unique or interesting name? Ask him what his name means.

A final trick is to drive that person's name into your head immediately after the conversation. Yes, I mean talking to yourself. As you walk away, say in a low voice, "Bob. He likes fishing and has a large nose. Bob." Just a couple points to fortify his name in your mind.

Image: two workers being introduced to each otherReturning to business, remembering names is important for good working relationships. Regular customers appreciate when you greet them by name.

Does your company purchase a lot of supplies, parts, and tools? Do you have the name of those vendors? Not just the supply companies' names but contact information for the people. Phone number? Fax? What about special discounts and terms from those people? Maybe your supplier has an inside person and a regular delivery person. You want both names.

Where do you store all this information? Remember the old Rolodex? Today, there's something better. A computerized maintenance management system. If your facility makes purchases through a CMMS, you should be able to input all the vendor information. This would make for smoother operations, wouldn't it? With a CMMS, you can easily swap out information if contacts change. This would be better than saving old business cards. "Let's see, Bob was the old sales rep. What's the name of the new person? Bob? Hmm…I wonder if he has a big nose."

Remembering names just makes good sense. It could be vital for your business success. Respect, courtesy, professionalism, and recognition. Besides, you don't want to give credit for your victories to 'that guy.'

If you want more information regarding the purchasing and vendor modules for a superb CMMS, call one of our advisors at Mapcon Technologies at 800-922-4336. Tell us your name. We'll remember.

Chris Kane

About the Author – Chris Kane

Chris Kane is a management consultant and former business owner with broad experience in marketing and sales in service industries. He is also a former U.S. Army infantry officer and avid outdoorsman, including rock climbing and motorcycle riding.

Since 2008, Chris has been involved in web consultation for one of the original and most innovative Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) software development firms in the industry. He especially understands how best to articulate the purpose and uses of CMMS software for potential end users across the globe. Kane appreciates and smoothly details the compelling financial and customer satisfaction advantages of CMMS software as do few others in the maintenance management field.

Filed under: names, business success, interview success, tips for remembering names — Chris Kane on October 24, 2023