First rule of effective communication: spell my name write – oops – right

Okay, admittedly neither my first or last name is easy to pronounce or spell. Therefore I’m generally not offended if someone gets my name wrong once or twice. And let’s face it, we all occasionally forget names. However, it’s becoming increasingly common these days for people to misspell and mispronounce names over and over again.

When you communicate with someone in order to persuade them or to request something, getting the  person’s name wrong will not help you achieve your objective.

Correctly remembering someone’s  name is the most important rule of effective communication. If I read “Corinne” on an email, you immediately have my attention. On the other hand, if I see Connie, Coreen, Coryn, Corrine or hear “kor-een” or “corn” instead of “kor-in,” here are my reactions. First I’m miffed the sender couldn’t be bothered to look up the spelling of my name or ask me how to pronounce it. Second, in my mind this person’s competence falls a notch. And third, I’m less likely to want to do what this individual wants me to do.

Using someone’s name correctly shows respect for the individual. This helps to create a positive connection and increases your chances of getting the other person onside with the goal of your communication.

So take just a few seconds before writing an email or calling someone whose name you aren’t familiar with and check the spelling or pronunciation. And please don’t use the shortcut of omitting the name entirely. Few people like being greeted with a generic “hi.” Most will interpret this as “hi-I-can’t-be-bothered-to-remember-your-name.”

Always  try to spell and pronounce names correctly. It’s not only courteous, it’s effective communication.


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