From Smiles to Knowing a Name


Sometimes, the smallest things matter the most.

Recently in reading, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, I was struck by two of his points: the power of a smile, and the power of a name.

First, a simple smile can change the entire tone of an encounter you have with someone. The book makes this evident with its examples, and I’ve seen it to be true as I’ve gone about my daily life. Smiling at the cashier, waitress or random person on the street can cause them to light up right back. I like to think I’m leaving a little sunshine with someone wherever I go, giving them a positive note in their day.

And that leads into the second point, and a bigger lesson – a name has power.

How many times do you meet someone for the first time and both of you mention how horrible you are at remembering names and that you will probably forget next time you see one another. Personally, I’m guilty of this. Almost immediately after learning someone’s name, I make an excuse about my terrible memory; I actually have a great memory – just ask my siblings who played memory games with me. After reading the chapter about names in the book, I began to contemplate if it was indeed my memory, or something else.

The thing is, Carnegie made the point that often forgetting people’s names actually comes down to not caring. I don’t know about you, Affiliate, but I like to think I care about everyone I meet. But when my actions don’t support my claims, I’ve had to take a second look and realize there’s a lot of selfishness.

In fact, I’ve had times when at the end of a five minute discussion I’ve already forgotten the name they told me! And if, as Carnegie pointed out, someone’s name is the sweetest sound they can hear, if knowing and saying it shows I care, why am I so careless with remembering and using a name?

So, I want to change this aspect about myself. I want to remember people’s names when I first meet them. I don’t want to be that person who makes an excuse of having a bad memory, because I don’t. I want to care about each and every person I meet and talk to.

But how? Well, first I need to say their name repeatedly in our first conversation. If I use their name, I have a better chance of remembering it. And if it’s particularly tricky, I could have them spell it for me or rhyme it with something. Even more than that, I just need to care about each individual.

Simply smiling and knowing someone’s name can go a long way. In a business built on people, I think that could benefit you as well, Affiliate. Do you greet your members and Coaches with a smile? Do you make eye contact? Do you call them by name? Do you make a point to use and remember the name of the person you met at the grocery store who voiced interest in your gym?

Sometimes, the small things hold the most power. Don’t let the tools of a smile and a name fall from your grasp. Pick them up and wield them in your business like the mighty swords they are!

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at