What is the “Sweetest and Most Important Sound”?
Oh my goodness! Can you feel it in the air? Are your toes tingling? If not, they should be because the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference is just about to begin. Over 400 United Methodists are invading – I mean blessing – Salem, Oregon for the next three days. It’s a time for holy conferencing, duking it out (in a holy way) over legislation, and worshiping the holy. Why “holiness” is the operative word for the event. Thank you, Jesus!
As someone who has been to numerous Annual Conferences, I love seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Hospitality goes a long way in making me love my church – the one I go to every Sunday – and the capital “C” Church that connects me to a larger, global group of Christians who are bound and determined to make a positive difference in this world.
A big piece of hospitality is remembering names. Dale Carnegie famously said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” And, I am generally a total failure at this. My best bet to remember a name is to associate it with someone else’s name. Please note that I love to meet people with the name of George – because you will be forever associated with George Clooney (sigh). For those of you with my name-forgetting affliction, Forbes (I can remember that name because it sounds like a butler) Magazine has “The Five Best Tricks to Remember Names.” I’m trying to commit it to memory. Wish me luck.
Beyond the obvious, why is it important to remember names?
People want to know they matter: A friend just found out he didn't get a job. When he asked for feedback the person on the phone said, “Who were the other people in the interview?” My friend had no idea. He thought he only had to focus on the person who was his main contact. The person who got the job remembered everyone’s name and that, in part, made the difference. Knowing someone’s name means that you think they matter.
It gives you the opportunity to develop a relationship. On Monday I delivered flowers to an assisted living facility. The flowers were in memory of a long-time church member who recently passed away and who used to live there. The front desk person was very thankful for the flowers but never asked for my name. My feelings weren’t hurt but it did strike me that he missed an opportunity to pass my name along to their development person or to their executive director. It’s a little thing, but someone at the agency could have called to thank me and that could have led to my becoming more engaged with the organization. No name means no engagement.
Thankfully, everyone at Annual Conference will be wearing nice big name badges (thank you, thank you, thank you). But when we all get back to our home churches, think about the new person who is longing to be known...or that nameless guy who’s been sitting in the back pew for the past six years…or the stranger who stops by the office with an unexpected gift. You and I know it’s time to let that person hear “the sweetest and most important sound” coming from your lips.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. This is her annual opportunity to post a gratuitous photo of George Clooney. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation; she is available to consult with churches in Oregon and Idaho. You can reach her at email@example.com.
comments powered by Disqus
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.