Getting attention has never been harder.
You can dress up in a clown suit, walk a tight rope or scream your message through a megaphone but there are still 3 million and seventy other people trying to get the attention of the exact same audience that you are (and they are probably handing out free sausages).
Well I’d like to tell you one simple way to get ahead in the fight for attention.
Find out who you need to talk to and use their name. It’s very simple, but it’s surprising how many people overlook it.
Have you ever received an e-mail which begins “Hi there?” I have and I’ve sent them as well and they do us no favours. It makes it look as though you can’t be bothered or that you just want to do a mass mail shot and then get back to something more interesting.
Taking the trouble to find out someone’s name says a lot about how much you value the interaction you are about to engage in (or attempt to engage in).
There’s an old superstition that says, to know someone’s name is to have power over them. The fairy tale character Rumpelstiltskin knew this and so do politicians who insist on using their interviewers first names over and over again.
But we’re not talking about trying to steal somebody’s soul,rather to recognise their basic humanity. Kidnappers often try to make their victims seem less than human by giving them a number. To fight against this, as Ingrid Betancourt did when she was held hostage in Columbia, is to force them to face up to what they are really doing, which is holding human beings prisoner.
Using someone’s given name shows courtesy and suggests that you would like to interact with them. The faceless “hi there” person can be sold tosh and pitched rubbish but if we are on first name terms then we can start to build up some trust.
Mind you I am highly sensitive to having my name inserted into mass mailing. I don’t like that at all, but at least they have taken the name part of the lesson on board. The other day, a blogger I subscribe to, somehow inserted my name into the main part of his post, so that it felt like he was talking to me directly. I don’t know how he did it but I jumped out of my skin. Some sort of clever software I’ll be bound!
Dale Carnegie said in “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that;
a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
So I guess we are just hugely flattered when someone takes the trouble to address us by name. In my experience it helps you get the e-mail read which has got to be a great start.