Consider what happens when you hear someone use your name. If you are within earshot, your ears prick up. Whether you intend to or not, you start to pay attention.
So when you send emails to your customers or prospects, use their name if you want them to pause before hitting “spam” or “delete”. Using a person’s name implies that you know them and that they should know you. It is a powerful differentiator.
When you do start using someone’s name though, details matter. In writing, pay attention to how their name is spelt. In person, pay attention to how it is pronounced. While many people brush off occasional misspellings and mispronunciation, make the effort to use a person’s name correctly and it will set you apart.
Tips for remembering names
If like me, you have difficulty remembering names, here are some tips:
- Firstly, focus! If it doesn’t come naturally, you need to put in some effort.
- If you didn’t hear the name the first time, ask the person to repeat it. If you happen to forget it later in the conversation, apologise and ask again.
- If it’s an unusual name, ask the person to spell it. Unusual names are great conversation starters.
- Use the person’s name often (without over-doing it of course). An easy one is to introduce the person to someone else. Another way to use their name is to ask them a question e.g. “what do you think of that, Mike?” If you are not taking active part in a conversation, mentally repeat their name to yourself.
- Associate the name with something or someone. Do you know someone else by that name? Does this person remind you of someone?
Blessed with an unusual name, I have been on the receiving end of many a misspelling and mispronunciation and am generally quite used to it. Happy also to take the accompanying jokes on the chin! However, when I do make the effort to use someone else’s name correctly, I find myself less forgiving when they continue mispronouncing after multiple corrections!
Remembering and using someone’s name correctly is simply common courtesy. Do you agree?