Thursday, August 20, 2009

TIP: Use Your First and Last Name

Years ago, I worked for a terrific boss in the film industry, who used to get red in the face when we'd forget to introduce ourselves using both our first and last names. "If you don't use your last name," he'd say, "you are just Rebecca who works at my office." 

This caused some eye rolling between me and other younger staff members, but it was an invaluable lesson. It was somewhat early in my career, and the idea of self-promotion seemed distasteful to me at the time - and I was also a bit shy.

But the habit reinforces the identity - as I introduced myself by both first and last name, I found I took myself more seriously as a professional. The film industry relies heavily on personal connections and endorsements, and the more your name is out there - as a distinct brand - the better. 

In sum - unless it is truly unique on its own - your first name alone is not a brand.

Even if others aren't introducing themselves using their last name, jump in and use yours - and ask others what theirs is too. It increases the possibility of name recognition, which may lead to other mental connections - perhaps you have heard of each other through mutual friends, or are aware of each other's accomplishments or industry reputations. If you introduce yourself as "John," the chances of this happening plummet.

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