Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

"Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;

'Twas mine; 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him,

And makes me poor indeed."

– William Shakespeare (Othello)

Iago's speech in Othello is about reputation, and how it's more valuable than money (which is ironic, given Iago's own manipulative nature).

But he mentions one's "good name." Your name is your identity. It's what binds you to your family, your friends, and your accomplishments.

“A person's name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” 
– Dale Carnegie [tweet this]

Carnegie was right. After all, he's the self-help guru who wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People, and he helped countless acolytes learn how to deal with people and make themselves welcome anywhere.

He recounts a story about Theodore Roosevelt visiting the White House one day when President Taft was away. While he was there, he greeted the White House servants by name, right down to the scullery maid. He even asked Alice if she still made corn bread.

As you might imagine, the staff was tickled. They talked about it for years afterward. Why? Because Roosevelt showed genuine interest in them and engaged them personally.

The Power of the Personal

What's one thing we all have in common? That humans, regardless of gender, race, geography, or even epoch, crave?

We all want attention.

Not in the infantile, sociopathic-narcissistic way. But we simply want to be acknowledged. We want to be recognized as individuals.

"No more fiendish punishment could be devised…than that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by all the members thereof." 
– William James

One of the most basic ways of expressing this is to call someone by name. We all recognize the sound of our name, and it sounds even sweeter when spoken by someone we know, respect, or admire.

Your name is your identity. It's one of the first things you heard from your parents. And in some ways, it carves a path for your future. My friend and fellow marketer David Berkowitz recently opined on names in his Serial Marketer newsletter, musing about whether or not your name predetermines your success. It may very well do so.

In the realm of the modern marketer, your name is the key to unlocking a relationship with you. With marketing technology being as advanced as it is, there's no reason a brand can't know who you are and address you accordingly. This is the promise of personalization.

Of course, it goes beyond that: customizing content based on your previous actions, knowing your preferences, etc. But your name — that should be table stakes. Woe betide the email marketer whose algorithm slips up and you receive a Dear {FIRST_NAME} salutation.

Which brings me to a pet peeve. It's an earwig of sorts, perhaps acquired by virtue of my kids watching countless YouTube videos that begin the same way:

"Hi guys!"

But I've also run into this frequently when listening to podcasts.

My issue is this: when a podcaster (like me) is speaking to you, I'm speaking directly to you — likely directly into your head via earbuds or headphones. Maybe you're commuting. Or perhaps you're at the gym. Or listening at your desk. Or walking down the street.

Whatever the situation, I'm speaking directly to you. You! Even if you're in car, listening with your family or your fellow commuters. This is meant for you. Now, I can't address you by name in a pre-recorded show (unless there was an audio version of mail merge and I created thousands of different versions and emailed you directly).

But if I opened with, "Hey guys," you'd immediately sense the difference. It's less personal.

Because I can't get so personal with you here (a podcast or blog post is too one-sided), here's what I'd like to suggest: I'm inviting you to tell me something about yourself. Tell me about a business challenge you're currently dealing with — a board member, a boss, a colleague, a project, a strategic imperative. I'm interested to hear what's going on with you right now.

Maybe you just need a sympathetic ear. Or you're looking for some feedback — it's always nice to do a gut check with someone else. Whatever it is, let's turn the tables.

Send me a note or an mp3 via email at fullmonty AT scottmonty DOT com. Or leave a comment in the comments section of the website.

By the law of averages, most readers or listeners won't do this.

But you? I have a feeling you will.

Image credit: Othello's Lamentation by William Salter, 1857 (Wikimedia Commons - public domain)

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