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Everyone loves to hear their name – especially during a panel discussion. It makes them feel special. Why? Because hearing your name literally causes a chemical reaction inside your brain.

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Dr. John B. Molidor, CSP, CEO and President of Brain Based Leadership Institute explains,

“To understand one event, it is important to note that from the moment you were born, your brain is looking for ‘wiring’ instructions. At birth and into your youth, these instructions came from your parents and/or caregivers. 

As your name is repeatedly called, your brain wires it in place and it is stored in memory.  As you get older, two other neurochemicals come into play – dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is the so-called ‘feel-good’ chemical and serotonin is a ‘contentment’ chemical. Thus, when you hear your name, your brain compares it to your stored memory and releases dopamine and serotonin. You feel good and you feel content.  

You can also typically hear your name in a crowded room with lots of noise because your brain is tuned and encoded to your name. The typical reaction, when that occurs, is to turn toward the place or person where your name was called.  Using another’s name is a positive way to make a connection with that person.”

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” 

Dale Carnegie

Whether you are a panel moderator, a panelist, or an audience member asking a question during a panel discussion, don’t forget to use the person’s name – and pronounce it correctly!

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For more information about how to moderate a lively & informative leadership panel discussion, check out our free 7-part video series on how to moderate a panel and other resources to help you organize, moderate, or be a panel member.

Photo by Kashawn Hernandez on Unsplash

Kristin ArnoldKristin Arnold
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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