Jeremy Kartchner is a Partner at Snapp Conner PR and has more than 15 years experience in both technology and sports PR. In addition to his responsibilities with Snapp Conner PR, Kartchner also works with the Utah Jazz as a member of its Game Night public relations staff where he is responsible for tracking and providing game time statistics for local, national and international media and conducting pre and post game player and coach interviews. He’s a sports fan, golfer, father of three, husband to one hottie, partially bionic, cavity free, Olympics junkie and wanna be blogger.
My wife and I recently moved and for the last couple weeks as the weather has been warming up we’ve been outside more and have been meeting our new neighbors. I introduced myself to one of the neighbors and we talked for a while. After several minutes a friend of his walked up and my neighbor introduced me to his friend. It was nice except he introduced me as Jeremy Marhcant, not Jeremy Kartchner.
I have a difficult last name that gets pronounced and butchered on a regular basis, but Marchant was a new one. After the introduction by my neighbor I politely corrected the mistake. My neighbor was slightly embarrassed and we laughed about it. No harm done.
Several years ago my dad was presented with an honor at work and was given a new position within the company. We knew in advance about the honor and my wife and I were invited to attend a special meeting to recognize my dad. I knew the boss and had even gone to the same high school as his son. There were two other employees that were being honored as well. Before the meeting began the boss went around the room and introduced everybody.
As he did this, the boss tried to personalize the introduction by highlighting some of the things he knew about each employee. As he talked about my dad he talked about how long he and my dad had known each other and how they had coached little league baseball together. As he talked about coaching together I looked at my dad and wondered, “Which kid did you coach?” I only played a couple years of little league and he never coached my team and my brother played one year and he didn’t coach him either.
When it came time to present the recognition in front of the group, the boss stood up and introduced my dad as Jerry Callister. My dad and I have the same last name, Kartchner. Suddenly it all made sense. The guy had no idea who my dad was.
I’ve found that getting somebody’s name wrong is more common than it should be. In business I know and have seen several people who cannot get people’s names, the business name or product names correct.
In a business setting I think there is a certain amount of professionalism to getting a person’s name, a business name or a product name right. A mispronunciation the first time is acceptable, but an ongoing inability to get the name right is unacceptable, especially when you’ve been told the proper pronunciation. It shows a lack of interest, focus and general disregard for the person and, in my opinion, raises questions about their ability to produce the results desired if they can’t even get something as simple as my name, my business name or my product name right.
Like I said, I’ve got a difficult last name and have grown up having to correct people, spell my last name and tell people how to pronounce it. I’m used to it and expect it, but I also expect that once I’ve told somebody how to say it that they’ll get it right moving forward.
As a PR person, I talk to a lot of people about our clients. I refer to the company, the product or service as well as individuals within the company such as the CEO, COO, CFO and other executives. I’m usually the media’s first introduction to our clients and their first impression of our clients. The media demands accuracy, often asking people to spell their names and company names to make sure they are right.
I’ve seen PR people Tweet and add Facebook updates about clients that include inaccurate spellings of names. This, in my mind, is unacceptable and should never happen. In one instance, a colleague referred to the CEO of a client and spelled his name wrong in a document. The CEO caught the misspelling and politely pointed it out. My colleague came back to him in our next meeting with the revised version of the document but still had not corrected the spelling of the CEO’s name. This time, the CEO was not polite as he told my colleague that his name was STILL misspelled.
It really shouldn’t be that hard. It requires paying attention to detail and focusing on what people are saying and telling you. An inability to get names right makes you look bad and can cost you respect and business.
Author: Jeremy Kartchner | Google+