This week we focus on another aspect of our personal and professional IDENTITY: our NAME!

Over the past month we’ve covered ARCHETYPES 101,  ARCHETYPES & FEMALE POP STARS, and PERSONALITY.  Are you getting the theme here? It’s all about IDENTITY.

What does YOUR NAME say about you?

Rick Riordan naming name quote

Read on to learn:

  • What your name means
  • How our names affect us
  • How to remember names

Let’s do this!


sting name naming identity quote

Do you know what your first name means?  (I’m talking to you, dear reader, and also to you, Sting! ?)

There are plenty of name websites – not just for parents who are expecting!

baby name identity(image: Unsplash @ by_syeoni)

You can learn about the etymology of your name HERE or HERE, including the meaning, origin, historical popularity by geography, your names day, and more.

You can also check out where your name ranks in terms of popularity by decade in ?? the U.S. HERE,  and the most popular names by decade in ?? CANADA HERE .

Apparently the name Andrea originated in Italy, and means “manly,” or the feminine version “womanly.”  Hmm.

Parents should definitely check the literal meaning of the name they choose for their baby. But I’m more interested in the IMPACT of names – the implied meaning


There’s no question that our name impacts our IDENTITYhow others think about us and how we think about ourselves. For example, research shows that people with less attractive names get fewer online dates, are ostracized, and tend to smoke more! 

names smoking identity(image: Unsplash @ luca_malic_)

Here are 5 research-based facts I learned about the impact of our NAMES:

1️⃣ Students with “CONVENTIONAL-sounding” names do better on standardized tests than their siblings with more “unique” names.

(Something else to blame on our parents!)

siblings name and identity(image: Unsplash @ frostbud)

2️⃣Your name can say something about your POLITICAL STANCE.

(…or at least your parents’ political stance!
Yes, that’s my boy…)
politics and identity

3️⃣ Boys with GIRLISH-SOUNDING names are prone to more disruptive behaviour.  

(Call it the “Boy Named Sue” effect!)

rebel identity(image: Unsplash @ diesektion)

4️⃣ Girls with more FEMININE-SOUNDING names are more likely to pursue humanities, versus girls with less feminine names are more likely to pursue STEM courses and careers. 

(Where does your name fit on this spectrum?)
baby girlish name and their identity
(image: Unsplash @ gift_habeshaw)

5️⃣People will respect you more if you use your MIDDLE NAME OR INITIAL

(Call me “Andrea C. Wojnicki”!)

respect and name identity
(image: Unsplash @ felippetiago)


dale carnegie quote name naming identity

What happens when you’re stuck chatting with someone and you can’t remember their name? ? Three suggestions:

  1. Apologize, but don’t over-do the apology.  Just say, “Sorry I forgot your name?” and then say their name and carry on the conversation:  “Right! SAM! Ok, so as I was saying,…” Don’t make it a big deal.
  2. Introduce a third person.  Say, “Oh this is Andrea. She’s a podcaster.  Have you two met?” And then they will both say their names. (Bam!)
  3. Ask for their business card. I’m amazed at how many people still carry business cards these days. (Yes, I have one too!)  If you ask someone and they don’t have a card, they’ll often connect with you on LinkedIn immediately, and then you can get their name that way.

name tag
(image: Unsplash @ acreativegangster)

Three tips to help you remember names:

  1. Repeat the person’s name at least three times.  “Nice to meet you SAM.  So SAM, how was your flight from New York?…”  Then later: “So nice to get to know you, SAM…” 
  2. Ask the person to spell their name.  Because I am a visual person, this one helps me immensely.  When you hear how the person’s name is spelled, you can visualize their name in your mind and you will also hear them saying and spelling it. It’s like a multi-media onslaught.
  3. Visualize it. If you’re at a conference with name tags or a dinner with place-setting cards, read the person’s name and try to take a mental picture.



Do you know anyone named “Karen“?  Hopefully for Karen’s sake, this phenomenon will go away.  

If you’re not yet convinced that our NAMES significantly impact our IDENTITY, consider all of the CELEBRITIES who changed their names before they got famous. For example, consider the names of these female pop stars:

Gender, Branding & the Modern Music Industry by Kristin Lieb 2013

  • Madonna” was born “Madonna Louise Ciccone
  • Lady Gaga” was born “Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta“!
  • Beyoncé” was born “Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter
  • Miley Cyrus” was born “Destiny Hope Hemsworth“!
Gender, Branding & the Modern Music Industry by Kristin Lieb 2018

These are the covers from two editions of the book written by last week’s podcast guest, Professor Kristin J. Lieb. Thanks again to Kristin for sharing her academic insights on such a cool topic – “Archetypes & Female Pop Stars”!  If you haven’t listened yet:

Click HERE to listen to the podcast now!

Have a great week and stay safe.

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki - headshotDr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

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P.S. – Please forward this email to your friends who are interested in improving their communication skills. I appreciate it.  Thank you!

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