My name is Nicole Peery. There’s no h in my first name and my last name is P double e-r-y. However, since the day I was given my name I’ve been paired with someone named Nichole Perry.
I’ve never met Nichole Perry, but every time I do something good she gets the credit and every time I do something bad she gets blamed. Nichole Perry is probably a really cool person, but she’s not me and I’m not her. I’ve gotten some amusing responses to my unpopular last name over the years:
- How do you pronounce that?
- Are you SURE you are spelling it correctly? (Really? It’s MY name! OF COURSE I’m spelling it correctly…)
- That’s a funny way to spell Perry.
I used to really dislike Nichole Perry and I got annoyed when people confused me with her until I realized that we’re in the same predicament and that I should use our situation to educate people instead of shame them. Even though it’s just a word, lets face it: people like their names. People like to hear and see their names.
Despite the fact that many people share the same name, they believe that their name makes them unique. Some people like their name so much that they write it on their underwear. What does all of this mean for you?
It is said that we have one chance to make a good first impression and as a blogger you may not meet the vast majority of people who come to your blog in person. Because the social cues such as body language and facial expressions are often missing in online interaction, it’s extra important to do all you can to make a good impression.
It means that you can make people like you before you even meet them by spelling their names correctly, pronouncing their names correctly, and using the name that people prefer to be called.
Picture this: Angella is a public relations agent who thinks that your blog is a great fit for the product or service her company sells so she emails you and asks if you’d be interested in writing a guest post on the company’s website or reviewing their product on your website.
In your reply you address her as Angela. It’s a simple mistake that anyone can make and seemingly minor, but if Angella notices your mistake she might start to think that you don’t pay attention to detail and she might begin to wonder what else you miss. Angella might reconsider the offer and find someone else who she sees as more dependable and less sloppy in their work.
Thoughts on Spelling Names Correctly
If people spell your name incorrectly, give them the benefit of the doubt. Since they don’t truly know you, the misspelling of your name is most likely not personal. Sometimes it’s merely a typo, sometimes the person was distracted when they were typing your name and fell victim to a habit or pattern, or perhaps the person has a disorder or learning disability such as dyslexia that they can’t help.
Tips for Spelling Names Correctly
- If you’ll be corresponding with the person often, add their name to your email program’s dictionary.
- Check the person’s email address, email signature, or their website for the spelling of their name.
- Try typing the name in a search engine.
- Verify the spelling with the person. They’ll appreciate your attention to detail.
Thoughts on Pronouncing Names Correctly
- If in doubt, ask! People will appreciate that you care about getting it right.
- Check out hearnames.com. If you type a name in it will pronounce it for you. It’s true that not EVERY name is on this website, but the owner accepts name requests.
- If you’re a visual person, check out pronouncenames.com. It gives you a visual pronunciation guide.
- Learning the meaning of a name may help you pronounce it. Check out behindthename.com to learn about people’s names.
Thoughts on Using the Name that People Prefer
I once worked with someone I thought was named Kim. If I needed X, Y, or Z I was told to contact Kim in department A. I noticed that “Kim” always signed her emails as Kimberly so I asked her “Do you prefer to be called Kimberly or Kim?” Her gratitude at my asking overwhelmed me. Something that seemed minor to me meant the world to her.
“Thanks so much for asking. Everyone calls me Kim, but my name is Kimberly and that’s what I prefer to be called.” It only took a few minutes of my time to ask Kimberly this question but it put me in her good graces before I had even met her in person.
Tips for Using the Name that People Prefer
- If you’re replying to an email, copy the person’s name from their signature line to ensure you are spelling it correctly. Don’t address someone by a nickname if they haven’t signed their email with it. Example: If Richard signs his email Richard and you don’t know him, don’t refer to him as Rich.
- Ask the person for their business card as it will more than likely use the name they prefer to be called.
- If in doubt, avoid using their name. Start your conversation with “good morning” or “hello!”
- Tell them what you prefer to be called and perhaps they will return the favor and let you know their preferred name.
Bonus: Remember people’s names the next time you have an encounter with them.
Remembering names is difficult for many. Often times people remember how the person looks before they can remember their name. You know the person, but if you forget their name the person is likely to be offended.
Whether it’s true or not, failing to remember someone’s name makes it look like you don’t care or that you weren’t listening to them when they introduced themselves.
Tips for Remembering People’s Names
- If you forget someone’s name you can “trick” them into saying it again. Check out some of these tips.
- If the person is standing in front of you, picture the person’s name on their forehead as they are speaking to you.
- Make an association to help you remember the person’s name such as Fernando in the Finance department or Brianna the blonde or Ronda with the rad blog.
- Try to establish some commonalities. You’re more likely to remember someone’s name if you have something in common with them.