I remember when I attended a talk on Sales and Account Management a few years ago, and the facilitator was telling us about creating rapport with your prospective client. There were the usual slides on kinesics, verbal and non-verbal communication behaviors, research, and a few more of those “tips” and “techniques” on creating a good first impression and turning that potential sale into an opportunity. However, what struck me the most during that time was when the facilitator asked, what’s the sweetest thing that people you just met (including potential customers) may hear from you in an initial conversation? The answer? Their own name.
This was echoed by my previous boss who always encouraged us to refer to our clients by their first names when sending them an email so it would sound more personal and less stiff. ‘Avoid calling them “Mr. Reyes” or “Mrs. Johnson” and instead, call them “Jim” or “Eloise”, she said.
True enough, I like it when the people I work with call me by my first name or my nickname. “Dear Geoff” sounded more relaxed than “Dear Mr. Ledesma”, and quite frankly the latter makes me feel like I just got myself into trouble. It’s also nice that I call my boss by her first name right now, and even casually call our Country Manager by his nickname.
But then again, why apply this only to our bosses or to our clients when this can be true for everyone? I also remember when a friend from the province asked me ‘Why are people in Manila fond of calling everyone “Ate” or “Kuya”?, and I just told him that it’s our way of calling people when we don’t know their names. This may be convenient when you’re just asking for directions in the street or when you’re talking to strangers you most probably won’t meet again, but what about those people you meet, interact with, and who help you every day?
Like “Kuya Guard” in your subdivision or “Ate Yosi” by your office building?
How about that “Manang” in the bakery or that “boy” who sells you taho every morning?
In our office, we also have our own “Kuya” who helps us around with our office needs. He cleans up the pantry after lunch, takes care of the dishes, and even does some of our errands. He’s the go-to guy when we need some muscles to move around some of the stuff we use for our events – and he does all of these with a smile on his face and stories to tell.
But to us, he’s not just a Kuya. He’s Kuya Canoy. I yell-out his name whenever I needed something, so I thought that this time, maybe I should say it with “The Happiest Thank You”.
Small things like saying Thank You, or calling someone by his name can already make somebody’s day. Aside from Kuya Canoy, I also gave sent a Coca-cola bottle to our “Kuya Lunch”, the guy who never fails to deliver affordable lunch and merienda to us every day. It was only recently that I learned from him that his real name is Arnel so one day, as I bought my Pork Sisig, I handed him a Coke bottle with his name on it as a thank you.
It’s time to give The Happiest Thank You to people who bring happiness to you every day. These are the people we interact with and yet, we’ve somehow failed to recognize by name. Have you thought of someone already?