I met a very impressive young man last week.

His name is Daniel, he travelled to Scotland from Colorado Springs to speak at my church’s leadership conference, and he is the associate pastor of a church with a regular attendance of over 12,000 people.

He presented a memorable series of talks displaying great wisdom, articulation, and the ability to hold the attention of a crowd.  But it’s none of this that made him impressive to me.  No, what impressed me most was that he knew my name.

You see, I hadn’t actually told him my name, and he had probably heard it only once, but he had made the effort to remember it, just in case it came in handy, just in case we had the opportunity to speak…and we did.

It all took place in the swimming pool of the conference hotel.  I’d just been for a sizzle in the sauna and then a cold shower, and wanted a few minutes of relaxation before another few lengths in the pool (which all sounds terribly healthy, but to be honest I was just taking it easy).  I spotted a friend also relaxing at the end of the pool and went to say hello and catch up.

‘Hi, Scott’ I said.  ‘Hi, Simon’ he replied, and a brief conversation followed about nothing in particular as we floated in the warm water doing precisely nothing else.

I then turned to my other side and spotted one of the main speakers at the conference.  Clearly I knew his name, I’d already heard him speak twice and had taken copious notes on his talks.  His name had been advertised in the lead up to the event and was on the conference programme.  So, it was easy for me to say ‘Hi, Daniel’.

But before I even got a chance to introduce myself he simply said ‘Hi there, Simon…’.

In that moment I I felt valued, worthy and appreciated by the fact that he had chosen to be aware of me, listen for and remember by name.  All in a simple ‘Hi there, Simon’.

It’s not our skills, expertise, qualifications, knowledge or even our wisdom that will make the greatest impact on those around us, it is how we treat them, respect them, appreciate them and dare I say it, love them, that will.