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Operation Name Drop: A New Communication Method

By: Guest | September 13, 2011 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by Laura Petrolino.

Today, with endless ways to communicate, we are producing messages thrown into a sea of faceless consumers. The challenge for any business is to make sure their message resonates and find its way through the clutter.

I’ve discovered, in working with clients, many need to re-learn what ‘communications’ actually is.

So, straight out of Communications 101, here is a little experiment to try. I like to call it “Operation Name Drop” (It is times like these that I wish my blogs had a soundtrack, because this one would be an award-winning cross between Indiana Jones and Superman).

Operation Name Drop can be executed the next time you are interacting with someone you don’t know well. As you are giving your order to the waitress or checking out at the supermarket, take a look at the name tag of the person helping you and….wait for it…..at some point in the conversation say their name.

I know…this is big. Take some time to fully absorb the magnitude.

Instead of…

“How’s the Cedar-Planked Salmon?”

Say, “Hi Wendy, how are you? How is that Cedar-Planked Salmon?”

And then, observe the change, because there will be one. Wendy will suddenly drop her guard. She will subconsciously understand you don’t see her as a nameless, faceless, ‘thing,’ but as another human being – by the name of Wendy.

Congratulations my friends, you have experienced the power of personalized communication.

We live in a nameless, faceless world where, sadly, personalized outreach has become the exception, not the norm. While online interface is thriving, actual communication is suffering. Making yourself and your business ‘the exception’ is more powerful than anything else you can do.

Enter Operation Name Drop

Operation Name Drop is a good example of how simple it is to personalize communication. Each strategy is different depending on the organization, but the overall goal is the same: Make sure whomever you communicate with knows they (as individuals) matter to you. The emphasis is on THEY, not their money, not even their business.

By this point most of you have settled into three camps:

  1. Group A: Those who are already brainstorming the simple changes to make in the communications strategy to personalize messages.
  2. Group B: Those who are sitting there mumbling something to the tune of, “Well, sure, that is easy for a business like X, but doesn’t work for my business.
  3. Group C: Those who are craving Cedar-Planked Salmon.

With all the methods that now exist to better facilitate communications, we often become so engaged with the communication platform that we forget to engage with the communication’s target (your customer).

You can use the most innovative communications methods and measure ‘impressions’ and ‘effect’ and ‘influence’, but in the end these are just numbers that have nothing to do with the resonation of your message.

Humans are ruled by emotion, not algorithms and analytics, so make a meaningful emotional connection with every Wendy, Joe, Bill, and Linda!

Laura Petrolino is chief communication officer at Ignite Venture Partners, which brings together consulting, capital, and concept incubation to build value in early and growth stage businesses.

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97 Comments on "Operation Name Drop: A New Communication Method"

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cshaffer
cshaffer
4 years 10 months ago

Or group D: Those who are already brainstorming the simple changes to make in the communications strategy to personalize messages and are craving cedar plank salmon

fitzternet
4 years 10 months ago

Interesting post, Laura. I’ll give it a whirl.

joshhumble
joshhumble
4 years 10 months ago

Great article, Laura. With the hectic nature of our business, it’s easy to let names go, but not only does name dropping greatly help our interrelations with prospects and customers, it also helps us better focus, become more mentally disciplined, and most of all, it shows we care about the people we speak with. Thanks for sharing the importance of good communications!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 10 months ago
I have to admit, when I was reading this before I published it this morning, I thought it was going to be about dropping names of the social media A-listers in normal situations to see if people knew who they were. Imagine my surprise to learn my assumption was dead wrong! When I was dating Mr. D., one of the things that made me fall in love with him was that he would look everyone in the eye and use their name…from the bus boy at a restaurant to a major donor for one of his candidates. It makes people… Read more »
CarlThress
4 years 10 months ago

My wife and one of her friends do exactly what you’re talking about: In a restaurant, they always look at the server’s nametag and address them by name. If the server has no nametag, they’ll ask their name and start every exchange from then on with that person’s name. It not only makes the server feel great, but it also makes a great impression on the people around her. At least I know I’m always impressed.

CarlThress
4 years 10 months ago

My wife and one of her friends do exactly what you’re talking about: In a restaurant, they always look at the server’s nametag and address them by name. If the server has no nametag, they’ll ask their name and start every exchange from then on with that person’s name. It not only makes the server feel great, but it also makes a great impression on the people around her. At least I know I’m always impressed.

KenMueller
4 years 10 months ago
This is something I have started to do on Twitter. Since I’m on Triberr, I have a group of people who regularly retweet my blog posts. Quite often, someone will retweet their retweets, and since my name is included, it shows up in my at replies. I always try to thank the people, but when it is someone new, and I’m seeing their name for the first time, I do a few things: 1) I follow them (assuming I’m not already following them) 2) I click on their profile to see who they are – and take note of their… Read more »
Nic_Cartwright
4 years 10 months ago

great post Laura – I am in camp A and C – it’s a win win

Nic

Nic_Cartwright
4 years 10 months ago

great post Laura – I am in camp A and C – it’s a win win

Nic

Lisa Gerber
4 years 10 months ago

All I can think of is all the emails I receive that start off with “Dear Spinsucks.” ugh.

The sight and sound of our own name is like music. and the sight and smell of cedar-planked salmon? I’ll have two please, Laura. 🙂

Lisa Gerber
4 years 10 months ago

All I can think of is all the emails I receive that start off with “Dear Spinsucks.” ugh.

The sight and sound of our own name is like music. and the sight and smell of cedar-planked salmon? I’ll have two please, Laura. 🙂

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@CristerDelacruz haha! Love it! Thanks for sharing!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@ginidietrich Thank you tons! So fun to guest post for you!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@joshhumble thanks for sharing Josh!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@fleuredeflorida thanks so much for sharing Ashley!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

Haha! Next time I’m up in Chicago, we will definitely have a date! You, me (@Ginidietrich if she’s nice) and the best cedar-planked Salmon we can find!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

Um…I’m not sure why my avatar has a santa hat on it! LOL!!!!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@Nic_Cartwright Thanks Nic!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@KenMueller Exactamente! It really is amazing. In general we live in a very disconnected world, when you make that extra effort to actually ‘connect’ with people it makes a HUGE difference and you stand out. You show you care about them and thus they care about you right back! Shock and awe!

And the weather down here is absolutely amazing! Let me know if you venture down this way and I’ll take you out for some Salmon 🙂

KenMueller
4 years 10 months ago

@lkpetrolino We used to spend a part of every summer in St. Pete when I was growing up. fond memories, though I think most of our favorite haunts have disappeared. And I love Salmon…but I’m not sure how I feel about planking with it…

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago
@CarlThress It’s so simple, and really gives such a good look into human nature. We all want to know we matter. People are always amazed at the ‘special treatment’ I get everywhere I go. My friends joke that I’m like the “Mayor of Tampa” because I know (like really know the stories and lives and details) of people pretty much everywhere I go….now although I like to think that this is because I’m just so amazingly awesome, people are naturally attracted to me….I know most likely I’m one of the few people that actually acknowledge they exist. It constantly amazes… Read more »
lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@KenMueller St. Pete has changed drastically in the last few years….but still such a dynamic city! I can grill your Salmon for you 🙂

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@cshaffer Perfection! Group D is definitely the way to go! Plus Salmon is full with essential fatty acids which have been shown to boost brain power and concentration. Winning!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@fitzternet Please do and let me know how it goes!

KenMueller
4 years 10 months ago

@lkpetrolino are you originally from that area? We used to go to a book store called Haslam’s. And this…odd store called Webb City. And ate at the Kapok Tree, the Sweden House, and Aunt Hatties.

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago
@joshhumble Thanks Josh, and you make very good points. Knowing the name is a symbol of caring about the person. Not to mention taking the time to know and understand our clients can only helps us improve the business/service we provide for For a consultant interacting with clients, I believe in really taking this one step further and working to ‘know’ them as individuals, beyond their business. After all business are run by people and those people can’t be separated from their lives, individual stories, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses….when I’m working to help a business succeed, I’m also helping a… Read more »
lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@ginidietrich Haha….I have such a great mental picture of myself in Saks, “Excuse me, do you know who I am? I tweeted at @ginidietrich this morning, you need to treat me with respect! “

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@MediaLabRat thanks so much Robert!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@KenMueller Nope, moved here about 3 years ago…..love it! I’m not sure if those places are still around…I’ll check in out! I’m guessing they probably are, St. Pete has been great at keeping their heritage alive!

Lisa Gerber
4 years 10 months ago

@lkpetrolino wait. seriously? you didn’t put the hat on your avatar? WTH? and YES to the dinner date! GIni can come but we have to make sure there are vegetarian options. 🙂

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@Lisa Gerber No…I have no idea how the hat got on my head! Ho ho ho!!!! Merry Christmas!!!

Brankica
4 years 10 months ago

@lkpetrolino Or something like Dear Blogowner when our names are all over the blogs 🙂

KenMueller
4 years 10 months ago

@Brankica@lkpetrolino that’s it. I’m legally changing my name to Blogowner.

lauraclick
lauraclick
4 years 10 months ago

Well said, Laura!

I think this lesson applies in social media too. When I respond to people on Twitter or on blog posts, I try to use people’s names quite often. I really think that makes a difference and helps you stand out. Simple advice, but oh so important!

Ameena Falchetto
4 years 10 months ago

Interesting! I am group A for sure … I hate salmon … but the Bs are the ones who get me going … excuses or lack of understanding? I can’t yet decide.

Ameena Falchetto
4 years 10 months ago

@KenMueller@lkpetrolino@Lisa Gerber@Brankica The one that makes me want to scream and break things is “Dear Mr. Ameena” and my fave which came through my blog “Dear Sir/Madam” … WTH? My site is called MUMMY in Provence, its about boobies and tushes ..SIR/MADAM? Epic fail.

JackiePurnell
JackiePurnell
4 years 10 months ago

I totally agree Laura. Although I will add that you should be careful when you’re trying to surreptiously trying to check out someones name tag.

This happened to me the other week. I was partially distracted by a friend and I was caught staring at the poor girls chest. I’m sure she thought I was checking her out.

Using her name after that little episode would have only looked like I was trying to get more friendly.

Embarrasing to say the least…but pretty damned funny, especially to my lunch companion.

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@lauraclick thanks Laura! Happy Wednesday!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@wordsdonewrite thanks for sharing Amber 🙂

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@wordsdonewrite thanks for sharing Amber 🙂

lauraclick
lauraclick
4 years 10 months ago

@lkpetrolino Sure thing! Congrats on the guest post. 🙂

lauraclick
lauraclick
4 years 10 months ago

@lkpetrolino Sure thing! Congrats on the guest post. 🙂

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@VoxOptima thanks for sharing!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@lauraclick thanks! I’m pretty sure my Mom paid off @lisagerber and @ginidietrich to give me the opportunity…..thanks Mom!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@lauraclick thanks! I’m pretty sure my Mom paid off @lisagerber and @ginidietrich to give me the opportunity…..thanks Mom!

lauraclick
lauraclick
4 years 10 months ago

@lkpetrolino @lisagerber @ginidietrich Nice! That’s quite a mom you have! 😉

lauraclick
lauraclick
4 years 10 months ago

@lkpetrolino @lisagerber @ginidietrich Nice! That’s quite a mom you have! 😉

lauraclick
lauraclick
4 years 10 months ago

@lkpetrolino @lisagerber @ginidietrich Nice! That’s quite a mom you have! 😉

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino
4 years 10 months ago

@lauraclick @lisagerber @ginidietrich if your Mom’s not in your corner who will be! You should see her try to pimp me out to available men!

lauraclick
lauraclick
4 years 10 months ago

@lkpetrolino @lisagerber @ginidietrich Oh my mom is definitely in my corner. She rocks! She just doesn’t know much about twitter. 😉

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