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How To Discredit Yourself With A New Person In One Word

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 22/02/2016 Jennifer Trask

When I was 18 and in my first year of university, my father enrolled me in a Dale Carnegie course so that I could learn how to become a better speaker and presenter. Now, 17 years later, what I remember most from that experience is this one truly important fact shared by Dale Carnegie himself:

A person's name is, to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.

Indeed it is. 
As a business owner, avid traveler, and general people lover, I meet new people all the time (online and in person). No matter where I meet them, I am always sure to do my best to get this one thing right: their name. 
In fact, if I am meeting someone on Skype for the first time and they have a name I am not 100% familiar with, I will ask them to say their name for me before I ever try to attempt it. I then write it down phonetically to make sure that I don't forget. When I make notes after our call, I am sure to include the phonetic description of their name for the next time I talk to them (until, of course, I know them well enough to remember). 
That's how important someone's name is. 
One's unfamiliarity with this little secret is particularly interesting when you consider a name like mine. Let me explain:
New Person: "Hi, my name is Jamie and you are?"
Me: "Hi, I'm Jennifer. It's nice to meet you Jamie." (Side note: a great way to remember someone's name is to repeat it in a sentence.)
Jamie: "Nice to meet you too, Jenn."
See that? 
2016-02-21-1456076478-5065908-Gasp.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-02-21-1456076478-5065908-Gasp.jpg
Jamie shortened my name to Jenn. Little does he know that by doing this, it discredits him immediately because it is clear that he did not listen or pay attention to detail (which to me, and many others, is important). 
Why would he do this? 
I have no freakin' clue. Maybe because many Jennifers call themselves Jenn? Maybe he assumes I'll perceive this casual shortening of my name as a sign of friendship, as many nicknames do. Unfortunately for Jamie, I do not call myself Jenn; I am always Jennifer. 
In his carefree, unthoughtful response, he has discredited himself and his ability to make a good impression because he couldn't even get the one most important word in my world correct: my name. 
When I lived in Australia, this drove me crazy because I didn't just get called 'Jenn'; Oh no, they instead took the liberty to go all the way from Jennifer to 'Jenny'! Oh my. 
I have received all of these versions both verbally and in writing. I find it even more hilarious when a stranger responds to an email and addresses me as "Jenn, Jen, or Jenny" when I had clearly signed my full (and preferred) name in the original message.
If you do this to people, please stop now
All you need to do is actually be present and listen when someone tells you their name, or in the case of an online interaction, carefully take note as you read their name. Luckily, if you are able to read this article, you can read someone's name. There's really no excuse.
I know that may sound a little harsh, but think about this: if you can't get someone's name right, what else might this say about you? What other things do you regularly overlook? If I was thinking of hiring you, you'd be out. Immediately. 
Compare it with being unable to follow directions. Not only will you not achieve the desired result, but now you've also made someone feel unimportant because you were too lazy to call them by their proper name. 
Personally, I really like my name. I know it's popular, but I still like it anyway. (According to my mother, it was not popular when I was born, hence every mother's decision to name her little baby girl, "Jennifer" in the early 80's.) As Carnegie reminds us, my name, like yours, is important. Knowing and acknowledging this will strengthen your connections with the people you meet. That's why when Jamie and I meet again, we will say:
"Hi, it's me, Jennifer. It's nice to see you again."
"Hi, Jennifer. I've taken your advice, and now I'm even more awesome."
"Why yes Jamie, yes you are!" 
That was easy, right? 
Jennifer hangs out daily in her awesome Facebook group for coaches and healers helping them to grow their businesses and get names right so they can impress everyone they meet. ;) 

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