Name Tags?   1 comment

I love name tags.  I realize that they are for people over forty (raising hand).  I would like totally love it if everyone I met would wear a name tag.  At least for the first few weeks.  After that I would be able to go without the tags, because I would have had a visual to see for a long enough time to memorize the name.

Don’t like name tags?  Too expensive?  They get lost, people forget them, they get worn out, they go out of style and make your organization look dated?

I guess that is all true. Can’t deny it. But here’s an idea that might help me remember.

A last name.

How many people have you interacted with in the past month?  How many were new to you, or people you don’t see very often?  How many gave you their last names?

I would estimate that one in twenty-five people I meet will add his last name when he introduces himself to me, and I suspect that even that statistic may be inflated because I always introduce myself with both my first and last names.

A last name.  I love it!  A great way to differentiate all the Chads, Steves, Kaylees, Kaylas, and Mikaylas I meet.  I don’t have to explain to someone else when trying to describe the person I just met: “She’s the Kayla who has brown hair and eyes who usually sits in the back row.”  I could just use her secondary name–otherwise known as a surname.

I like it.  I really think using surnames in introductions would revolutionize my over forty life and ability to remember people’s names.  Besides, what are people hiding?  is our society one giant witness protection program?

I suppose first name only introductions are intended to make people feel welcome and at ease.  Perhaps it’s easier to just say one name?  Saves time?  I’m trying to think of other valid reasons to just use a first name.  Feel free to comment and let me know the most important ones.

As you may have guessed by now, I’ve come to the conclusion that the first name trend is not a good one.

It makes names harder to remember, not easier, since they tend to be more similar to others’ names.

It creates awkward and socially insensitive situations where a twenty something person is calling a seventy something person by his first name, say in a waiting room, when the two people have never met before.

It is supposed to make people feel closer to others, but how many studies have you seen which prove that people have more close friends and feel less lonely now than they did twenty years ago?  Instead first name only introductions generate a false sense of intimacy which is just an empty promise.  It keeps people at a distance by blocking out most information that could create more of a connection.

Now when people introduce themselves to me that way, it feels as if they maybe don’t need or want me to remember their names. They are floating in a sea of anonymous Kaylas, Steves and Chads. How can you really learn more in an interaction with someone who is just one word?

At least you’ve kept your life simpler.

 

 

 

 

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Posted May 6, 2015 by swanatbagend in community

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One response to “Name Tags?

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  1. When I call up a new business connection (doctor, plumber, etc) I refer to myself as “Mrs McNamara” and leave out the first name entirely. I completely agree with you that this idea that everyone is on a firstname basis is not good, for all the reasons you listed.

    It is a silly way to try to equalize everyone. We have these titles that go with our last names (Mrs, Dr, Mr) as a measure of respect – even a small child is a Miss or Mr! By refusing the titles we deny everyone that base level of respect – in order to reduce the level of respect accorded to those who have actually earned them.

    I mean, sure, I feel sorry for men. They don’t get to change their title when they get married and show off their accomplishment like we women do. But I’m not going to deny them a basic level of respect by denying them their poor “Mr”!

    (Indians are particularly picky about titles: I grew up around a lot of women who were officially known as “Dr. Mrs. So-and-so”)

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