Those of you who know me personally also know how passionate I am about spelling and grammar. Believe it or not, there is another area where mistakes annoy me even more: names. I might even expand that into names and identifying information, including addresses. My point of view is unequivocally this: spell them right.

The amount of time it takes to correct an error–or, better yet, to make sure the information is right the first time–is infinitessimal, especially when weighed against the annoyance it can cause your constituency. Nothing is more personal to someone than her name. If you can’t get it right, why should your customer-colleague-vendor-child’s teacher-professor-etc. take you seriously? Getting it wrong only serves to make you look disinterested or lazy.

I understand that sometimes people make honest mistakes. Those are easy enough to correct and forgive. What I find inexcusable are situations such as these, which I’ve experienced personally:

  • “Personalized” sales calls (or letters or emails) that misspell my name;
  • Misspelling my name when responding to an email where my name and/or auto signature are already present;
  • Assuming my name is a short form of another name, and then calling me by the longer, incorrect name;
  • Misspelling my name in the body of a Facebook or LinkedIn message where my name auto populates in the address line (how can you miss that?!);
  • Unwillingness to correct a name and/or address even when notified;
  • Addressing phone calls and/or correspondence to an ex of several years, then expecting me to respond favorably when the contactor switches gears upon being corrected.

If you have an unusual name (I don’t), I would imagine that it means even more to you when someone takes the time to get it right.

Here’s what I believe.  When you get it right, I honestly may not notice. When you get it wrong, however, I guarantee that I’ll notice. Is that how you want to get my attention?