What is in a name? | 3 Tips to Remember When Addressing Professionals

Names are pretty important, right? I mean, we all have one. So, why is it that the past few weeks I’ve been hearing stories of names being butchered, titles being dropped, and nick names being used when speaking with professionals? Whether you’re applying for a job, working with someone, speaking with a professor, or just networking, it is extremely important to address someone correctly. Below are three tips to remember when addressing a professional.


1. Get it right the first time 

It doesn’t matter who you’re connecting with or why, get their name right! Take the time to double-check their name and the spelling. You never know if someone has a unique spelling or has recently married. If their name is Jacqueline, don’t call her Jenny. First off, her name isn’t Jenny. Secondly, you most likely do not know her well enough to address her by her first name. They should not have to take the time to correct you on their name. Think about how upset people get when a Starbucks barista spells their name wrong on their venti pumpkin spice latte. This isn’t coffee we’re talking about here, it’s business! Our names represent who we are. It’s a piece of our personal brand. Show that you are aware of their brand.

2.  No Nicknames

My name is Rebecca. Many people call me Becca. However, no one and I mean NO ONE calls me Becky. So, when a person contacted me for my assistance and started the message with “Hi Becky”, I didn’t jump the gun to help. Like I said above, you really shouldn’t be on a first name basis let using a nickname, unless they’ve told you to refer to them as such. These people are not your best friends and they surely don’t want you acting like it. Using a nickname can be degrading of their position. Also, It gives off the sense that you aren’t taking the situation seriously.

3. Don’t forget the title

Mr. Mrs. Miss. Use one. If they have a PhD, you need to refer to them as Doctor. Be respectful of all their hard work. If you show your respect, they’ll show respect back.

In the end, do your research, be professional, and be respectful. The two seconds it takes to double-check their name, can go much further than if you addressed them wrong.