Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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5 steps to remembering names (the first time)

Leaders interact with scores of people every day. Whether in company meetings, at conferences or on a plane, meeting new people and new faces is part of the game. For some, the sheer quantity of interaction with people can seem overwhelming.

One of the best ways to make an impression and gain the confidence of other people is to address them using their name. On the importance of using a name, Dale Carnegie said: “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Here are five steps to help you remember the name of everyone you meet:

  1. Hear the name: When you meet people for the first time, listen when they state their name – really listen and hear what they say when they say their name.
  2. Spell the name: Take a split second and spell their name in your mind after you hear them say it. This important step locks the name in your mind in a powerful way.
  3. Comment on the name: Make a brief comment using the name shortly after you hear it, such as “hi [name], it’s nice to meet you.” Depending on the circumstances you may want to do this non-verbally.
  4. Use the name during the conversation: Use their name once or twice during the initial conversation – this is an important step in remembering a name. It can be something very simple like “so [name], tell me a little more about….” Don’t go overboard or sound too obvious, but look for ways to repeat their name while you become better acquainted.
  5. Restate their name when leaving: Close your conversation using their name. For example, you could say “it was great meeting you [name]” or “[name], I look forward to working with you on the … [project, etc.].”

As you meet someone new and go through these steps, look carefully at the person’s face and other features that will help you associate the name with that individual. You will see noticeable improvements in your relationships and your ability to positively influence people.


The Product Management Perspective: As a product manager you work with a lot of people. Make the effort to know them by name. It’s especially important to remember the names of customers you meet. Using these simple steps will help you establish positive relationships and work more effectively.


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Guest Post: How to Encourage Your Team Members to Stand Up and Lead

By Andrea Gordon

To be successful in today’s market, team members need to step up and be ready to take a leadership role. It is not easy to develop leadership skills in others, however, so it’s very important to understand that some people do not share your goals and aspirations. Keep an open mind and learn to use varied techniques to inspire different team members to stand up and lead. 

1.    Challenge – Issue a challenge. (In today’s market environment, you probably have many challenges to issue!) Some people need a specific challenge to motivate them. By laying down a challenge, you also create a very clear and measurable goal for a staff member to achieve.

2.    Appeal to noble motives – Many employees think that their work does not make a difference. By appealing to a team’s noble motives, you can increase morale while also setting higher standards for your staff members.

3.    Be sympathetic – Never tell someone that they are wrong. Even when you disagree, listen and be empathetic to another person’s ideas and desires.

4.    Evidence – Back up your ideas with proof. By providing evidence, you can give instant credibility to your ideas. If you have evidence, even staff members who have a different perspective will take notice.

5.    Listen – Listen to what your staff members have to say. Some employees may not want to reach top corporate positions; instead, they may simply be content if their opinions and ideas are valued.

6.    Ask questions – Instead of giving direct orders, ask questions to guide your staff members to think through the issues and come up with their own solutions.

7.    Value your staff – Make your staff members feel genuinely important. Faced with the market challenges today, your employees must be reassured that their contribution and leadership DOES have a huge impact on the company’s survival, stability, and growth.

Andrea Gordon and Dale Carnegie Training want to contribute to the online conversation about leadership and business management with the blogging community. Dale Carnegie Training was founded in 1912 by one of America’s most influential speakers and leaders. Today the company continues to work with individuals and businesses to build leadership, public speaking, and management skills that result in success.