I’ve found that there are plusses and minuses of having an unusual sounding name. I’m named after a family friend who is German-Jewish in background, so the pronunciation of my name isn’t the one most people expect.
My name rhymes with Donna, nirvana, the Hawaiian city of Hana, fauna, and sauna.
My name does not rhyme with banana, manna, or hosanna.
It does makes it easy when answering the phone to know whether the caller knows me or not, even without caller ID.
I used to judge people by whether they could remember how I pronounced my name – were they actually listening and paying attention when I introduced myself or not? I also used to decide whether to correct someone on the pronunciation of my name based on how long or in-depth I thought our relationship would be. The telemarketer? No. The dentist’s receptionist? Yes, probably. A new colleague? Absolutely.
However, I changed my tune on this judging game a few years ago, when I learned from a marketing consultant that you give someone a gift when you give them a way of remembering your name. I’ll always remember his name – Tim Clausen – because the way he introduced himself: Clausen, like the pickle.
I love that idea – that you give people a gift when you let it be easy for them to know and remember you. Because of this one simple idea, I’ve been able to let go of the judgment and focus instead what I really want – to connect with other people in a true and genuine way.
So, now on my name tag at conferences or meetings, it’s: Hanna (sounds like Donna). It’s interesting to see how this simple addition draws people in to me, just by making it easy for them to know what to call me Giving the gift of my name to others has honestly been a gift for me as well.
What’s possible when you make it easy for someone else to know you?