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What’s in a name?

By Janet Adetu

Depending on your cultural background your name and title plays a significant part of how you are ranked in the society. Your name is precious and should be guarded diligently. Some people have been known to change their name completely or create a compound name by adding to the existing. Some names are boosted by extra title, while some are real tongue twisters. Whatever your name maybe it is your right by birth, marriage or choice to be identified with that name.

In the business world let your name have a good reputation, more so because as we see repeatedly that others may share the same name. At a woman’s meeting quite recently we were all asked to introduce ourselves for the purpose of identification as well as to familiarize ourselves with all others present. A particular lady humbly introduced herself loud and clear, before we could say anything, all simultaneously a group of ladies added Chief (Mrs); instantly we all raised our heads again in recognition of who she was simply out of respect. The business world expects that in any gathering you do your best to introduce yourself, acknowledge the name of the person you are talking to and as much as possible try to remember their name.

Remembering someone’s name is a gift, not everyone has that talent. Infact many adults are victims of forgetting names most times within the first ten minutes of meeting someone. To avoid such awkward situations during any first time meeting you will need to make a conscious effort to try to remember the name. never feel shy to ask someone to repeat or remind you if you missed it at the beginning.

Frankly speaking if you can remember names weeks later it is a huge bonus for you by way of impression management, and image enhancement.  People will draw to you instantly and feel more inclined to cultivate a business relationship. On the other hand you stand a big chance of ridiculing yourself if you find that on meeting someone again not quite long after the first meeting you wrongly introduce them to someone else. Many names today are a bit of a tongue twister, the best way not to sabotage your image is to get it right from the onset and not pronounce a person’s name wrongly.

Some cultures will allow you to call names casually applying the first name basis, but like everything else caution must not be thrown to the wind. It is important to give significance to ranking, seniority, and respect to all.

Many cultures have a very formal business setting so would frown at any differences applied to their setting. For instance in your working place calling your boss by his/her first name may be acceptable but do not assume all organizations are open and free to do likewise. I have witnessed many young professionals, loose multimillion contracts just by virtue of share carelessness of character. You should be able to judge when to use names appropriately. When you are in an unfamiliar territory, it goes without saying that to create a good first impression you should initially appear somewhat more formal, and then change if you have been allowed to.

In building relationships the name is key, take note of the following Strategic Etiquette Techniques for addressing someone’s name:

Listen:   Always listen with intent to hear and understand the name when meeting someone. To affirm what you heard recite the name loudly or silently just try to know you got it correctly.

Repetition:  Remembering anything takes practice, try to encourage yourself to repeat the name in the course of the conversation or within the first few minutes you meet. Mention the name at the start, during and at the end of your brief meeting.

Mix and match: If that name is familiar to you match with others you know that have the same name. Align the name with something familiar, to help jog your memory. e.g Mr and Mrs Green (the colour green), create your own version if it will help.

Take Note: The best next thing is to note the name down if you were not given a card. Store the name on your phone and add a memory name tip at the end.

Correct Spelling:  Don’t pretend to know how to spell the name, it is safer if you politely ask for the correct pronunciation. Some people like to be addressed by the shortened version of their name; ask before you do so or wait to be told.

In conclusion to be civil in the business environment is to continuously act with consideration for others. Ensure your work environment is and your conduct is acceptable to all. Recognize the name you prefer to be called by and flow with it. I’m Janet, for over 20 years my close friends call me Jaytee which happens to be a combination of my first and middle names. Even at that this name is only used in social familiar gatherings, while my full name is for formal official gatherings. So in truth realistically speaking there is a lot in a name. Use yours wisely.

Goodluck!

 


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.