Real Life

What’s in a name?

September 17, 2010

Tonight I started taking a 12-week Dale Carnegie Course titled “Effective Communications and Human Relations”.  Don’t know who Dale Carnegie is? Google him. He’s practical. Or was I should say. And his life has surely out-lived him.
I’m going to try and blog after each one (or shortly thereafter!) because I think it’s going to be truly life changing. I could tell you all the reasons why I wanted to take it, but since this is read by random who-knows-who I won’t and will just say, I know it’s going to be good for me.
Picture it. All 23 of us had worked a full day and come to the hotel ready to go for another four. Some tired. Some excited and some extremely nervous. Chairs in this small conference room are set up in a circle. We all place our name tage appropriately, say a few greetings and class begins.
After all of stood up twice to introduce ourselves, the teacher breaks us up into groups to do a memory learning technique. What visual association can you provide to help people remember your name in this class, Lani? What did I come up with?
Hi, my name is Lani Ledingham. Picture a Scottish Nanny (Scottish because I am) wearing a t-shirt with the letter “L” on it. In one hand is a bucket of “led” and under the other is a ham. Lanny Led-….-ham. Worked for them! And we all learned eachothers’ first and last names in a matter of an hour through association. It caused us to actually look at someone and think about THEM when they introduced themselves. Not “what am I going to say next?”
Then we all had a turn in front of the class sharing what we do for work. What we love about it. The challenges. It was the beginning of what I think will be some very vulnerable moments in class. We have everything from oil field guys, admin gals to a pizza cook.  One guy, an Englishman, came back because he missed his first class and wanted to cover all 12 before he felt like he earned his certificate. Listening to him talk about how much the course meant to him almost brought tears to my eyes.
So why do I ramble on so much so late? Only because it was an amazing night of learning about people. Learning to listen and look for details and CARE about where they come from. That behind memorizing someone’s name is SO much more of who they are, what they do, and what they REALLY want to do. Then there are the tears that come to some woman’s eyes because she is so nervous to stand in front of a class. Yet she does just fine.

Let the Dale Carnegie journey continue next week…

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