You may have received the advice to sprinkle someone’s first name throughout a conversation in order to win their favor. Don’t do it. Even the “sweetest” sound becomes saccharine if you overuse it.

Do you know anyone who insists on repeating your first name throughout a conversation? While I appreciate a greeting and salutation that includes my name but any unnecessary use—even once—sends a shiver up my spine.

I know I’m not the only person who has this negative reaction to over-use of their first name because it’s a common description that I hear when people describe “sales-y” behaviors. They describe it as a red-flag indicating an ulterior motive—they become cautious that name-abuser only has their own best interest in mind.

The Dale Carnegie quote “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language,” is commonly used to justify the over-use of names. However, this is a misinterpretation. In Carnegie’s book How To Win Friends and Influence People this quote refers to the importance of remembering a person’s name, and then demonstrating that you value knowing the person by using their name during greetings and salutations.

=This is another example of the delicate balance of building trust. If you fail to remember and use someone’s first name, you demonstrate high self-orientation because but if you use it too much you also risk being seen as self-oriented.

Even though repeating a person’s name when you first meet them may help you to memorize their name, instead try silently repeating it in your head to avoid making a negative impressions. Otherwise, save it for the “hello” and “goodbye.”

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