I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash
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Their names are precious

Did you know that someone’s name is one of the most precious words to them?

If you don’t believe me, think about how you feel when you are ‘treated like a number’, someone pronounces your name poorly and you get a letter with your name wrong in some way.

I once got a letter that referred to Mr T Hughes, opened with Tash and had Mrs Hughes on the envelope. I didn’t like being called Mr but the lack of care shown by the inconsistency was very poor.

Getting people’s names right is a sign of respect, and in business it also shows attention to detail matters to you. So consider the following tips:

  • check the spelling of someone’s name before you send a letter or email – and use their spelling even if you don’t like it
  • personalise where possible – if sending a letter or email, consider adding their name to the subject and/or body as well as in the opening line
  • think about what form to use – title and surname or just first name for instance will depend on your audience and your business style. Note if they have shown a preference for one style then make sure you use that style.
  • if you are not sure of gender from the name, avoid using terms that indicate gender as getting it wrong can be offensive
  • never make fun or joke about someone’s name, even if you think you have a friendship, unless they have done so first – even then I would hesitate before joking about their name
  • wait to be invited to use a nickname or abbreviation. So many people meet a Michael or Jonathon and start saying Mike and Jon, but if Michael hates Mike it will not impress him at all. Besides, nicknames are personal and often reserved for friends
  • ask how to pronounce their name if you are not sure – people don’t mind helping but may resent errors
  • do your best to remember names, especially at networking events or if a client introduces you. There are many techniques for improving your name memory and it is a valuable skill to have

PS On a humorous note, I received a phone call a few days ago where the person asked “Is that Mr Tash Hughes” (badly pronounced)
I answered “No” thinking – do I really sound like a Mr?
Next question “Can I speak to Tash Hughes?”
My answer “You are – I am Tash but I’m not Mr.”
“Oh, I thought you were a boy, Goodbye” and hung up!

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