Here’s a behavioral pattern that I first learned in high school about using a name and getting attention. Use it to when delivering your presentations.
I was taking AP English at the time and was writing a paper on Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Since the most extensive library in the area was the Main Public Library downtown, I spent more than a few afternoons riding the Public Railway System and then navigating the city center to the library.
On this particular Spring day as I walked from the downtown station to the library, I became preoccupied with my own thoughts, thinking about the paper, graduation, a summer job, college, etc. However, I didn’t have to think about where I was going. I had been to the library numerous times over the past few weeks, so the entire process had become automatic.
Suddenly, I heard someone call out my name. It was unmistakable. “Larry!”
I whirled around to see who had called me, but I could not find a familiar face anywhere.
As I returned to my own inner thoughts, I heard my name shouted out again: “Larry!”
This time, I identified the speaker. He was a grizzled man in dirty clothes, standing on a milk crate and selling the “End of Days” to anyone who would listen to him.
Who were his prospects? The people whose names he called out, naturally.
As I watched him, he called out several other names, seemingly at random. And without fail, after every name he called out a name, two or more people in the crowd would break their concentration and look in this guy’s direction.
The lesson here is quite simple:
Remember what Dale Carnegie wrote about someone’s name in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”:
Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
If you are a sales person and you want to get your prospect’s attention, use their name.
If you are presenting to a large group and you want to insure that you have your audience’s attention, use the names of a few people in the audience. Those few will wake up and pay attention because they heard you say their name.
And everyone else will wake up and pay attention as well, because you just might use theirs next.