What’s in a Name? A Rarefied Skill to Maximize Professional Presence

It is beyond a reasonable dispute that an organization’s lifeblood begins and ends with the relationships which we forge with each individual client. Without these solid relationships built upon a foundation of mutual trust, respect and professional presence, there would be little reason for any of us to show up for work.

In all my years of relationship building, both personally and professionally, I’ve observed what others do and, more critically, what they neglect to do. I’ve witnessed the handshakes, wining and dining, and insurance platitudes which are routinely served up as “best efforts.”

But do you know what I don’t see them do on a consistent basis?

I don’t see them taking the time to remember all the names of their prospects and clients!

If you want to achieve professional presence that won’t soon be forgotten, take the time to remember names when visiting clients and meeting with prospects. And not just the President/CEO, but everybody. That includes receptionists, assistants, new hires — everyone. Today’s department manager could easily become tomorrow’s CEO.

Self-help expect Dale Carnegie, author of the timeless classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, said it best:

If you want to win friends, make it a point to remember them. If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment; you indicate that I have made an impression on you. Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.

The problem with remembering names is that too few people make an honest effort, instead falling back on the trite excuse “I’m bad with names.” I can state categorically that remembering names is an acquired skill and that no mother ever gave birth to a child who was innately gifted with this ability.

Every time you visit a client or meet with a new prospect, make it a point to remember each name. Even if you miss a few, at least make the effort. Write their names down on a notepad for easy reference. Create your own mnemonic. Purchase a self-help book on the subject. Do whatever it takes.

The more you practice this skill, the better you’ll become over time. And you’ll be amazed by how much you, and by extension, your organization, will stand out in the crowd.

And that’s the name of the game!


About the Author Michelle Mindell

Michelle Mindell is Vice President, Senior Client Executive, and Team Leader in Property & Casualty at Oswald Companies. She brings over 18 years of dedicated focus and experience Oswald. company. Her focus lies in identifying, measuring, and managing organizational risks, while providing innovative solutions to local, national and international employers. Her current responsibilities include enhancing client relationships, as well as focusing on overall account selling, while overseeing Oswald’s Client Executive professionals as Team Leader.


The Oswald Women’s Leadership Council, developed in 2013 to inspire females at all levels to empower, develop and advance, has focused its 2016 education efforts around Professional Presence. Read earlier articles in this series by clicking below: