What’s in a name?

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

A fun little exercise in changing your name and seeing what happens...

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I’ve been working on a project to get people better at using guests’ names in the hotel trade. As usual my grasshopper mind keeps thinking name-related thoughts. I was thinking how can I get a group of people to practice learning new names with each other – given that the team I’d be working with already knew each other’s names?

Then I remembered this way of generating a new name for yourself – so this team would have some new names to practice with.

This is audience participation time: I invite you to do this for yourself to invent a new name.

Think of a favourite movie star of yours one whose performances you really like. Done that? Great.

Now think of a favourite pet from childhood… yours, or a friend’s, or perhaps an animal from a movie.

Good. Now take the movie star’s surname and then add the pet name and you have your instant new identity.

In the shower this morning I became “McKellan Honey”. Try this yourself – or better still with some friends and colleagues – and see if you don’t end up smiling.

And then ask yourself, as I did (better still, ask each other if you’re doing this as a team)

How would I behave differently if I really were McKellen Honey (insert your new name here) ?

How would I like to be treated if I were called McKellen Honey (obviously, insert your own new name here)?

What would McKellen Honey be better at than I am?

Feel free to imagine your life with this new identity. My guess (and hope) is that you might be pleasantly surprised at some new possibility that occurs to you. Certainly, what I’ve found is that I felt a fresh enthusiasm for the day ahead, and a renewed sense that “nothing is written”.

And, of course, I’ve got a great way to tackle that training assignment.

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