What is the number one way to make someone feel important?

I ask this question often in my hospitality and guest service training sessions. I get a plethora of answers from my audience, including smiling, greeting, making eye contact, saying hello, et cetera. I let my audience know that all of these things make people feel good—but not important. Invariably, I will get someone to give me the answer, which is: to call someone by their name. My next question is, “how do you get someone’s name without asking ‘what’s your name?” The obvious answer is to introduce yourself.

If you introduce yourself to someone, more than likely they will tell you their name. If not, it’s as simple as saying “Hi, my name is Kelley…. And yours is?” Human beings have an innate desire to be recognized by their name. Therefore, it is the best way to make someone feel important.

I can tell you this, as I hated my name the first 15 years of my life. I would always get “Kelley’s a girl’s name.” And for the early part of my life, I hated this until one day, I realized that I had nothing to worry about because I had it better than my brother… his name is Courtney.

All of us grow into who we are and our personal identity as we grow older, which includes embracing who we are and our name. If you want to make someone feel important, find out their name and use it.


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