Preparing for brand-new parenthood again reminded me, together with a bugbear—the non-use of names when conversing on social media these days—that using people’s names in conversation with them is crucial in reaching them with Christ’s love.
Some may disagree, but let me attempt to convince you of the value of using people’s names in conveying, what I call, vocal respect.
When we use people’s identifier, the one they got at birth, or their preferred name, we show we care enough about them to make the extra effort, a gift of love, to connect with them—even as their parents deemed they were to be connected with.
Try something: in any conversation, sprinkle in the use of the other person’s name, and better with sincere eye contact, and watch the rapport build.
Watch the person reciprocate and trust you more as a result.
Not only that; when we use people’s names God does something in us by the way of our care.
The Lord blesses us because we cared enough to use their name; to give them eye contact.
It may seem cool to leave people’s names out, as if we are cool in our casualness, but it does nothing to build real intimacy. What seems cool actually comes off as lazy—and ‘lazy’ won’t always be fashionable.
Techniques of Vocal Respect
When we devote to people, in the quality of our interactions, by calling them by their name and by giving them plenty of eye contact, we transmit vocal respect.
We choose to love, respect, and show care for people. Nobody makes us do it. So if we are consciously aware of the desire to reach into someone by our love, we might quickly notice the value of giving sincere eye contact and using their name in the context of the conversation, usually at the start or end of our sentences.
Vocal respect is something visibly shown, by ways that the recipient of our respect cannot help but notice. It makes a difference in our rapport; our genuine use of their name, in the context of connecting with them in a caring way.
Underpinning our sincere eye contact and the use of the other person’s name is a heart for authenticity; we cannot fake vocal respect.
Caring for people must be done in ways that we mean what we say. That’s vocal respect. It not only respects the other person, it’s also about self-respect. We compromise our credibility when we pretend to care for people; when it comes off as fake.
Any techniques we use in showing vocal respect must be backed up by a respectful heart.
God’s blessing prevails when we care enough to use people’s names and give them sincere eye contact as we talk. Vocal respect invites trust. People want to trust those who respect them.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.