I DON’T engage in the ‘Hello, my name is’ campaign. It’s not because I don’t believe in it. It’s an amazing but simple concept.
It’s not because I won’t, it’s because I can’t.
I have a minor speech impediment. I’ve had it since I was a child, and if you have met me, you may or may not have noticed it. I did attend an appointment with a speech therapist when I was 8 years old but both my dad and I thought it was a waste of time and we never went again.
There are certain words I struggle with, but the hardest one for me is my name. That’s right, I can’t say Babir. Obviously, a lot of people pronounce it Babeer instead of Barber, but that’s not their fault. My parents can’t spell.
Struggling to say your own name without looking like an idiot is highly embarrassing, so I try and avoid it. Hence not partaking in the wonderful campaign. I generally don’t introduce myself to anyone. I gesture manically to my badge. This probably comes across as rude.
I also break into a cold sweat when I attend a meeting and we go around the room and have to introduce ourselves. I find saying my full name helps instead of just saying my first name.
So how can I be a pharmacist if I am not great at communicating? Communication is key to life and half our role. I’ve learned to adapt. Introducing yourself may be an important starting point in any conversation but I don’t do it and I have done 1000’s of consultations including MURs, NMS, EHC, flu and travel vaccinations.
I would like to think I still do a good job at communicating. I’ve done the CPPE Confidence in consultation skills full day workshop and this included having a role play consultation with an actor videoed. This was painful to watch, but actually not that bad once I got past the you know what bit. I have also passed the arduous online assessment and have the selfie to prove it.
If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would be confident to talk in front of 100’s of people and talks at 17 schools of pharmacy and countless conferences then I would have said you were crazy. I have turned my greatest fear into one of my greatest strengths. I’m not saying I’m Batman but not denying it either.
So please don’t be offended if I don’t introduce myself to you. If only I had an alter ego, I could introduce myself as. If only….
Babir Malik is Weldrick teach practitioner at the University of Bradford
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