What is probably the first thing you would know about a person, be it a colleague, client or candidate?
What is it that defines a company?
What is it that leads to an establishment of personal rapport?
What is that sets a person apart from everyone else?
It’s the NAME!
Making blunders in people’s and company’s names is a very embarrassing error, and sometimes it can cost you business.
- Getting International Matters Right:
When you are working with clients from all over the world, it is not rare to come across names you have never heard before. Or names which are not common in your country. Or names which mean something really different in your region, which might make you chuckle. It is necessary to have sensitivity in such matters.
Whatever be the reason, if you come across a name which you have not heard before, and have a doubt about its pronunciation, it is best to just ask. Ask the person himself or herself, or ask Google.
Correct spelling is also something one should ask.
It is not uncommon to find emails addressed to the “wrong” people because of inattention to the exact spelling.
- The Basics:
It is necessary to get a name right because if not the first, it is one of the initial steps in ensuring a successful interpersonal interaction.
Clients and candidates alike, all people, feel valued when you remember their names, with their correct spellings and pronunciations. It conveys that you have been listening and paying attention to what they were saying.
Wouldn’t client-relations suffer if you didn’t even remember as basic a thing as a name?
- Remember, Companies Have Names Too:
While it is one thing to make error in the name of a person, things can go wrong at a whole different level when one makes an error in the name of a company or firm/organisation.
It is always a good idea to double-check the name of the company that is being used in various documents and other paperwork. This can prevent transactional and other administrative goof-ups.
- Tracking Changes:
While it is important to pay attention to the names and their correct spellings and pronunciations, it is equally important to be updated about the changes.
Updated about names?
Many companies begin with one name, and sometimes as their reach and scope evolve, so do their names.
Some companies have sister concerns with similar names but different businesses. It is a great idea to clarify such things. It is easy to be mistaken about the identity of companies if the logos, mottos and contact details are similar.
Many people also change their names (including middle names, surnames ) due to various reasons. It is necessary to have the documentation up to date in such cases to avoid administrative complications and frauds.
- A Sign Of Respect:
A big reason to pay attention to names and making efforts to get them right is that it can be considered a very basic form of courtesy.
Repeated mispronunciations, blunders are not only annoying for the person who is at the receiving end but also very disrespectful.
In a professional setting, one is expected to apologise for and rectify unintentional errors. When this doesn’t happen despite repeated attempts at pointing out the mistake, it might come across as mockery.
What to do if you are the one with a “unique” name? Sadly the most common approach people take is to just tolerate the misnomer given.
But fortunately, there are other alternatives, and situation is changing, thankfully. Globalisation has desensitised everyone to a whole lot of hitherto unfamiliar names.
Moreover, the internet is a great tool. For the person who is having trouble with calling out that name, there are exact phonetic pronunciations just a Google search away for at least some names. For the person facing the mini-identity crisis of sorts, there’s the option to send a mail to the entire office clarifying before everyone gets accustomed to making the mistake.
Names are not just empty words, and it is necessary to understand why we should make an effort to get them right.