Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Name Repetition: Rapport-Building? or Bats**t Crazy?

I don't know what particular self-improvement book/philosophy/guru espouses the power of name repetition. I think Dale Carnegie mentioned it, but not sure if there is some other popular thing out there that has convinced the MBA-types it's a good idea to say my name 45 times in an interview...but it's not a good idea.

(I don't mean to keep picking on the MBA's - I mean, my best friend has an MBA - but then again, quit doing this stuff, MBA's)

I know name repetition is also a memory-improvement technique to help people remember names, and that seems okay.

But I'm talking about over the phone, where all you need to remember my name is to look at the four e-mails we exchanged to set up this meeting. When nearly every other sentence you say is either begun or finished with my name, it doesn't so much build rapport as make you sound like a total nutbag.

Here's the progression:

First use of name: Not a big deal.
Second use of name: Slightly odd coming so soon after the first.
Third use of name: Starts to feel condescending - is this dude trying to Build Rapport?
Fourth use of name: Definitely condescending.
Fifth use of name: [you get a pass with this one because I was looking at shoes online and temporarily distracted]
Sixth use of name: Is he kidding me?

Seventh use of name: Mildly psychotic.

And so on.

It probably doesn't help that most of the people who are doing this have a Ted Haggard-vibe to them, you know, "I appear almost aggressively wholesome and to be a pillar of the community but actually right after this call I will be having a coke binge with a hooker, [insert my name]."

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