I was in a meeting the other day with a Producer for one of the local TV stations. We were discussing an upcoming event and a name of one of the participants came up. The Producer shook her head at the mention of this individuals name and at the same time had a look of frustration on her face.
I asked her what was wrong and she said nothing. I persisted and she hesitantly confided to me that this individual never remembers her name and that every time she sees this person she has to introduce herself as if it’s the first time they’ve met.
As she explained her frustration, I couldn’t help but think of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry meets a new girl, sets a date with her but can’t remember her name. Jerry spends the rest of the episode trying to remember and or find out what her name is. He’s very creative in trying to discover what her name is and even gets some hints, including that the woman’s name rhymes with a female body part, but to no avail. It’s not until the end of the episode when the woman is breaking up with him that he remembers.
It always surprises me when situations like this occur. I understand that it may take a second time hearing a name, but after two or three times you should be able to remember somebody’s name, especially if it’s somebody you’re seeing on a regular basis. If you’re going to see somebody on a consistent basis and can’t get their name right, in my mind, that’s just laziness.
I wrote about this topic over a year ago, but I still think it’s relevant. 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 accurate.
In a business setting I think there is a certain amount of professionalism to getting a persons name, business name or 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.
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.
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.
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.
Author: Jeremy Kartchner | Google+