TRADING ON A TITLE
Sometimes titles are necessary, but I believe in most circumstances they are not. When I say required, I refer to an occasion when it is essential to know “who is in charge” or “who has the required expertise” for the project/operation/joint effort.
I was waiting for entrance to an event at the airport when the guy next to me began a conversation. We talked about the airport and all the changes taking place. We talked about our jobs and where we lived. When the meeting room opened, and we found our seats. To my amazement, this guy was the guest of honor and received an award that morning. Not only was he an award winner at the morning meeting, but he also had a title to beat all titles. And he never mentioned it to me during our introduction.
After realizing it, I approached him and said, “I didn’t know you were that person of notoriety!” He replied with a smile, “I am not all that important.”
He certainly was not into title trading for higher regard or VIP treatment. I respect that.
I find myself forgetting titles most of the time once an introduction is over. Titles have been a pet peeve of mine forever. I do not care to be near anyone who trades on their title for white-glove treatment.
But people can get hurt feelings when I forget their title. I am not talking about the guy at the airport, that is for sure, but others who carry their title on their shirt sleeve for recognition. Indeed, it is their call.
So the dilemma, how do I sincerely respect another’s serious attention to their title and the title of others? Yet, in the same breath, I understand that titles can be hugely ego-driven, and the person on the other side of the title may require white-glove care.
Now, I know this is where sensitivity is required. So I listen and look for clues and reactions when someone is introduced. Is there a wide-eyed smile as the title is said, a more significant physical reaction to title representation? There is always a tell, and it is up to me to get it right.
And I usually do want to get it right except when I don’t.
For example, I was seated at a white-table-clothed luncheon event and noticed two men to my right. Both were speaking loudly, not caring or interacting with the others at the table.
And me, being me, got their attention and introduced myself. Neither seemed interested in me or anyone at the table, so I added some small talk and then asked about the large ring one of the guys was wearing. It was humongous.
Now I had their attention and unbelief that I did not know the ring, its significance, and who these guys were. They were stunned, speechless, and still did not share their names!
I was expected to know the significance of the ring.
The rest of us had a nice lunch while these two kept to themselves.
I gathered after I related this to friends that the ring was possibly representing football or other sport.
Not being a sports fan, I had no idea!
I see that titles can be more than letters or numbers.