All in a Name

Do you know what, sometimes I’m absolutely amazed at how on earth people spell my name! Ok, so Alastair can be spelt a number of ways, there is Alistair (probably the most common variation), then my spelling (Alastair), then, if you’re truly Scottish you’d spell with it a ‘D’ – Alasdair. Everyday, someone emails me or writes to me spelling it wrong because they couldn’t be bothered to check the way I spell it. Oh and by the way, did I mention the people that despite having pressed reply to an email of mine with my name spelt correctly in at least 4 places, they still get it wrong? Now, I’m wary of this post turning into a personal rant, but I DO have a point here so please stick with me ๐Ÿ™‚

The people I mention here are more often than not in Sales or sometimes applying for jobs (Still selling themselves)! Now this is what amazes me the most – if you can’t even be bothered to spell my name correctly, you’re unlikely to get my business or at the very least you’re going to have to work a whole lot harder for it!

One of my earlier posts about networking picked out the importance of using peoples first names in conversations with them – both face to face and over the phone – its a fantastic way of building up a closer relationship with an individual – well this is my equivalent piece of advice for the written word! Spell people’s names correctly – especially where you are selling to them. It takes very little or no effort to read someone’s email and make sure you double check the spelling – make it the last thing you do every time you send an email from now on and you might just find that sales become easier for you. If you’re reading this wondering what I’m talking about then you probably don’t have a tricky name to spell but this will hopefully still be sound advice because maybe, just maybe you don’t check carefully enough when communicating to others?

Another important aspect of this is taking down names over the phone when you’re going to send something to them. Never assume! Always double check the spelling there and then so when you follow up in writing you have it down correctly.

I’ve probably opened a can of worms now and will receive emails from people that I’ve accidentally spelt their names incorrectly but in reality I’m not really expecting this because something so personal and important to them as a name should be spelt correctly and I make it my business to get this right every time, make sure you do also.


  1. Alastair Cartwright on 8th October 2009 at 10:00 am

    Do you know – I really know what you are talking about! But it happens so often, to be honest I have given up caring. Probably the wrong attitude, but I reckon over 75% of emails spell my name wrong, even when they are replying to Solicitors spell my name wrong, mother-in-laws, friends, in fact there are probably only 10 people on the planet who get my name right.

    Is it laziness or stupidity, who knows.

    Over time my name has been shortened to Al, and then I get idiots calling me Alan. Now that really is annoying.

    • Banksy on 8th October 2009 at 3:19 pm

      Thanks Alastair – by the way, great spelling ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Are You Kidding? on 8th October 2009 at 1:26 pm

    If you’re going to pick holes in people’s emailing skills, you should at least make sure that your blog post is grammatically correct.

    Here’s a hint: It isn’t.

    • Banksy on 8th October 2009 at 3:29 pm

      Itโ€™s funny, when you write a post about getting someone’s name correct and then you receive a comment on it, criticising it, but the commenter doesn’t actually have the balls to say who they are โ€“ thereโ€™s something fairly ironic about that wouldn’t you say ๐Ÿ™‚

      I agree that grammar is not my strong point โ€“ in fact, hailing from Essex probably didnโ€™t help me much but this blog point is about so much more โ€“ itโ€™s about someoneโ€™s name โ€“ the most personal thing to them and how people get that wrong regularly.

      Please do me a favour, next time you want to criticise someone on a blog โ€“ which, by the way I openly encourage if you have a fair point, as you well did, make sure you have the decency to put your name to it ๏Š

      • Scott Gould on 8th October 2009 at 4:06 pm

        I agree with Banksy – criticism is welcome, but if you do criticise, at least be transparent.

        Also, I believe you are meant to use quote marks for quotes, i.e. “It isn’t”, not a colon.


  3. Chris on 8th October 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Guilty as charged ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Banksy on 8th October 2009 at 3:17 pm

      ha ha – well done for owning up ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Tom Fletcher-Jones on 9th October 2009 at 3:59 pm

    At least you don’t get people calling you Tom Jones or McFly fans pointing out how entertaining your name is (biggest traffic source to my old site was from a McFly forum ๐Ÿ™ )

    • Banksy on 10th October 2009 at 9:18 am

      Ha Ha that it true!

  5. Cathy Debenham on 11th October 2009 at 2:22 pm

    While I don’t get angry about emails with my name spelt Kathy, it just gives an impression of sloppyness and not bothering. Not a good way to win friends (or business) and influence people.

    • Banksy on 16th October 2009 at 9:21 am

      Totally agree and thanks for the comment Cathy ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Alasdair Allan on 15th October 2009 at 9:42 pm

    At least your last name isn’t a common first name as well. For some reason Americans invariably assume I’m incompetent and can’t fill in forms and my first name is “Allan” and my second name is “Alasdair” despite anything I say to the contrary. Actually, it’s not restricted to Americans, but it’s more common…

    • Banksy on 16th October 2009 at 9:22 am

      Wow – A double whammy of wrong spellings – I wonder how many ‘Ala(i)st(d)air’s I can get to comment on this post ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Alasdair Allan on 16th October 2009 at 9:47 am

        Probably quite a few. It something that annoys the daylights out of me. I don’t mind how people pronounce it so long as they spell it right. Probably a goo thing, because the only person that actually pronounces it right is my wife, sometimes I don’t even do it right.

  7. Oliver Moore on 25th October 2009 at 9:06 am

    Spelling of a name is important, making sure you use the persons full name is just as important.

    I recently got very annoyed by being called Oli in a meeting- despite having been introuced as Oliver and then receiving a follow up email calling me Olly. (Spelt wronh I might add).

    Rule of thumb, only shorten someones name when they have shortened it, directly to you first.

    • Banksy on 27th October 2009 at 9:05 pm

      Ooooh excellent point and one that I’d not thought of at all ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers for commenting Oli (and I hope I can call you that after our many meetings ;))

  8. […] by it and that was special โ€“ I noticed he did this with everyone he met. I wrote a post about the importance of a name a while ago. This skill is so important in getting ahead in business and clearly Chris knows […]

  9. Malcolm Sleath on 14th July 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Malcolm has two Ls. Just saying…

    • Banksy on 15th July 2010 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks Malcolm, I guess you suffer the same probs I do ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Dan Cave on 24th January 2011 at 10:39 am

    At least you get people using the right name with the wrong spelling. I’ve lost count the number of times people have read “Dan cave” as “Dave”.

    If people do get your name wrong, it does tend to give you the high ground when you polietly put them right though.

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