I was recently schooled by two six-year-olds…but in a good way.

Let me tell you the story.

I was delivering my new book, Marketing Spark to someone who I had interviewed. Their office was located beside a schoolyard full of kindergarten children.

As I was locking up my bicycle (Yes, I’m one of those crazy urban bicyclists!), two children pressed their noses against the fence, smiled at me, and in the most innocent and enthusiastic way asked a simple and powerful question.

what's your name
What’s your name?

In reflecting upon it afterward, “What’s your name?” is the most important the and best question that you can ask somebody. It’s a question we take for granted. It’s a question that authentic, natural and effective. And it’s a question we should be asking all the time.

Here’s the thing: When you meet or see somebody new, it’s so easy to pass judgment on their personality. In your mind, you quickly decide that someone’s a good or a bad person, they’re friendly or evil, or they’re a potential friend or enemy. We make these judgments based on few if any facts.

When you ask someone their name, however, the entire dynamic changes. Suddenly, you go from being a stranger to having a relationship, even in a very small way.

And from there, anything can happen. There are endless possibilities. You could meet a business partner, a customer, an investor, an employee, or even a life partner. But without asking that question, you’re never going to know.

If you’re going to a conference, a social event, a dinner party or an office event, the question to ask anybody that you meet is obvious: “What’s your name?”

“What’s your name?” breaks down barriers. It’s a sign you’re interested in learning more about someone else.e.

So, the next time you run into a strange, take the advice from a six-year-old and ask them their name.

My new book, Marketing Spark, provides entrepreneurs with strategic and tactical guidance on how to embrace the power of story-driven marketing. Featuring templates, worksheets, frameworks, and tools, Marketing Spark is an everyday resource to make your marketing better and more successful.