Don't you just hate it when people mangle your name? Me too -- along with just about everyone else on the planet. Why? Because nothing sounds as sweet to our ears as the sound of our own name. Even in a crowded room, we'll hear our name and turn to see who called it.
Say a person's name correctly and often, and you'll have his attention. Contort or truncate it beyond recognition and you'll lose him, maybe for life. I know someone isn't paying attention when they call me Honor-eeee instead of Honor-ay. It makes me want to not pay attention to them!
Getting someone's name right is one of the simplest ways to establish a good business relationship, yet so many people mess it up. Don't be one of them. Instead, take the time to listen and observe. It's a moment very well spent.
Here are some suggestions on how to do this:
• Take careful note of how the other person introduces herself (read: listen). If she says her name is "Elizabeth," call her "Elizabeth", not "Liz". If she says her name is "Liz", don't call her "Lizzy". Pay attention to whether someone's name is Kim or Kimberly. If you're not sure, ask!
• Repeat any unusual pronunciations you hear to make it stick in your mind. If the other person hands you a business card, make a note on the back of their particular articulation so that you can say it correctly the next time you talk to that person.
• Don't assume familiarity. Call the other person by his or her formal title until they invite you to call them by their first name. If you have difficulty doing that, if "Mrs. Skrybailo" just isn't rolling off your tongue, no matter how hard you try, for example, ask permission to use the first name. Never assume it.
One of the most important things which determine success in business is attention to detail. Make sure you've got it!