Before Shakespeare provoked us to consider the power of a name in his famous play about young lovers from feuding families, a person's name counted.
All the famous despots in history mattered. Still do, if you want to understand how not to repeat the same mistakes.
It's the first rule of salesmanship and also the first trick of a hostage negotiator's trade: What shall I call you? What's your name?
He asks those questions because using someone's name builds an instant bond. Makes that person feel recognized. Seen. Valued. Important. A relationship can grow between people who know each other's names.
Recently I have had occasion to ask three different clerks at three different stores the names of their respective bosses.
The three answers were:
1. I dunno.
2. Wes. Don't know his last name, but he's from Prattville.
I didn't have a complaint--just had a question, but my desire for more product information dwindled because the clerk didn't know the name of the manager, his own boss.
It says a great deal about someone in the workplace who doesn't know his boss's name. It says something about the impression a boss makes on an employee if the clerk can't remember him (her).
It says a great deal about a company when the employees don't know the names of the people with whom they work. What it says isn't very good advertising, is it?