File This Under “What?”

by Paul Castain on December 20, 2012

How many times have you met someone for the first time, who rattled through their name so fast, you had no idea of what they just said?
If you’re like most people, you may or may not ask them to repeat their name once, but would you do it twice, or three times until you got it right? At that point it gets kind of weird. No?
So you blow it off and next time you simply say “Hey . . .. . . . . . you” and they become the dude or dudette with no name. Kind of a bad situation to be in. Just out of curiosity, have you ever been that person?

Here’s another one . . .

Have you ever had to replay a voicemail mucho times because the genius at the other end left their phone number like they were practicing to be an auctioneer?

I’ll tell you flat out that I have been guilty of both of these scenarios and quite frankly, many people are. Think about it, things like our name and phone number are presented numerous times a day in our world. Because of that, the tendency is to rush through it.

Its quite natural, but very confusing for the other party.

OK, so now that we just had our “Fast Talker” support meeting, what do we do about it?

Pausing and Parting: (hat tip to Dale Carnegie for this technique)  To pause and part you would simply pause (briefly or people will think you are special) after saying my name is . . . This is important because it captures the attention of the other person. Now comes the “Parting”! To part, you separate or part you first and last name. Example Paul (part) Castain. Doing this prevents one big tapestry of babble and lets you communicate your most important asset, your name. The same technique can be used for your phone number.

Consider having a way for people to remember your name if they are struggling with it. I have two ways that I have people remember my name. The first is that I have a way that I like to spell my last name. C. A. S like “Sam” T. A. I.  N, like “Nancy” The other way is to use a memory technique. The brain thinks in images. The crazier the image, the higher the probability of retention. Here’s what I will say as my “break glass in case of emergency” memory jogger. “I want you to picture Saint Paul but he has his arm in a cast. The cast is stained in the shape of a dollar sign because I always make money for my clients. Then I repeat my name again to drive the point home.

Silly? Heck yes, but its funny how many people will tell you that crazy story next time you run into them.

Slow down: Remember, to fight your tendency to rush through things you present often. Be mindful of your nerves and how your adrenaline will speed up your rate of speech. You might even want to video tape or simply tape record other things you communicate often such as:

Your 30 second commercial (elevator speech)
The voice mails you leave
The voicemail on your own phone

Reevaluate what you are saying. Is it confusing? Is your message compelling enough where it will capture the attention of your audience?

So, there you have it. Some simple things you can do to avoid getting that confused, head tilted look from the people you meet.

Wishing you incredible success!

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  • Tony Pita


    You are absolutely correct on this one…I have had numerous voice messages of prospects wanting an inquiry from us and for the life of me I cannot make out their name or telephone number.

    I play it over an over again and even ask a colleague if they can make heads or tails of it. I cannot stand it so I always make sure when I leave v-messages that I slow it down and even repeat my name and phone number so that it will stick in their heads the first time.

    As always I enjoy your posts because you always keep it real with a bit of humour to go with it.

    Enjoy your Christmas and have a fantastic New Year. Do not forget to slow down a bit during the holidays.


    Tony Pita

  • paulcastain

    Thank you Tony!

    Truth be told, there was a time where I was really guilty of the phone number thing in my voice mails.
    Thank you for the kind words and Merry Christmas to you my friend!

    YOU are appreciated!

  • Anne-Marie Regish

    An additional tip: when you’re leaving a voice mail message, repeat your name and phone number (slowly) at the end so the recipient doesn’t have to go back and re-listen for the first time you said it (which they may not want to take the time to do)…

    Quick funny (and true) story… while I was reading this post, I was also listening to a recent show by my favorite local band and they just happened to be doing a great cover version of the Beatles tune “Slow Down” simultaneously! LOL

    Doncha just gotta love when the universe hands you such a fun coincidence?! 😉

    Anyway – thanks for another great post!

    Virtually Yours,

  • paulcastain

    I think I’m going to hum that to myself when I leave voice mails but knowing me, I might accidentally hum it on the message :)
    Thanks Anne-Marie . . . Happy New Year!

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