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If you see me then, please, say my name

Updated: May 29, 2021

Is the simplest way to influence change hidden in the power of a name?

Three questions: Why is your name important to you? Do you know the names of the people who make your day better? And, is the simplest way to influence change hidden in the power of a name?

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When I wrote this, I was working in Dubai. I sat writing for you, struck by the plethora of nameless faces that have made my day easier. There I was, a stranger in a strange land, surrendering the fortune of my day to people who didn't know me.

There was the person who brought me a coffee in my morning meeting. I thanked him, but, pre-occupied with the meeting's focus, I can barely recall a thing about him. He helped settle me into my day, and yet I don't know his name.

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The person who spotted me looking lost as I entered the building on my fist day, going out of their way to share a lift and guide me to the office. She made my day better, and yet I don't know her name.

The waiter at the restaurant, gliding around tables, careful not to disturb the air I breathed while making sure I didn't go thirsty while waiting to order. He made my night better. But I can't tell you his name.

The person who picked up the scarf I dropped at the airport, running to catch up with me to ensure they could hand it back. I thanked them warmly - they saved me the sadness I would have experienced from losing a sentimental gift from my wife, but I cannot tell you their name.

The IT person who synched my computer to the projector for my morning presentation. He stood over this same computer; I can guarantee that my fingers touched his through the keyboard I type to you on right now. Such intimacy celebrated with thanks, but I don't know his name.

Why so many nameless faces?

Every day, nameless faces ease our way through life. Is it acceptable that you – like me – fail to recognise these fleeting moments by using the most potent singular word available to us – their name?

"Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language" (Dale Carnegie)

What is in the power of a name? Ask yourself, what is in the power of your name?

Imagine yourself without a name – without a means to label the collection of unique beliefs, attitudes, skills, knowledge, experiences and talent that are your life. What power resides in the mention of your name. Your personal word, breathed by another, shining a light on your existence as an individual on this planet of billions.

Your smile made me smile. Your helping hand made me feel better. Your directions got me here when the SatNav couldn't. I see you. I hear you. I can sense your presence.

At this moment, you are significant. You are important to me.

I will let you know.

I will connect with you.

I will say your name.

I can use your name to get your attention in the most crowded room.

I can use your name to stop what you are doing and bring awareness to me.

I can use your name to show you how aware I am that we share the same space and time.

I can use your name to connect and de-heat a tense conversation.

I can use your name to show I care.

Is it time to make more of an effort to connect using the power of a name?

So why do you and I so often fail to use the one word that can create a memorable moment for those that make our life easier?

It begs the question, is the simplest way to influence change leadership hidden in the power of a name?


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