Organizations collect so much data about us but they too often fail to add a field that would make a difference: that of preferred name. I’m officially an “Elizabeth” – and no offense to others with that name who like it, but I most definitely do not.

So, when I receive mail or an email to “Elizabeth” I know that it’s someone who doesn’t know me and they lose points for pretending to do so. How hard would it be to ask “preferred name” as one of the zillion questions on forms you need to fill out and then to actually use it?

I received an email yesterday that not only used Elizabeth but wished me a Happy Birthday (on the wrong day!) What they meant as a nice public relations/customer service gesture backfired twice. They would have been ahead not to send it at all.

Marketers know that the sound of your own name is a key component of messaging. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but if you’re a Rose and someone refers to you by your official name of Rosa, it’s just not the same.

p.s. Trivia: my lower case “beth” came from crossing off the Eliza part of the name and little b beth is what remained. Elizabeth

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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