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You Talking to Me?

You Talking to Me?

I receive letters daily because I’m in print, on video, and on audio in so many places. I’m also on three social media platforms. Most communications are kind, some are angry, and a few are sociopathic. But what intrigues me is that so many people spell my name wrong.

My name is, obviously, “Alan.” My parents were far too poor to afford more than one “l.” Yet people mangle it with “Allan,” “Alen,” “Allen,” and, worst of all, “Al.” (Do I look like an “Al”?)

The reason is that they’re not paying attention. In the same manner, some of my coaching clients call to ask for a return call while I’m in Iceland, or Bora Bora, or Beijing. They’ve both failed to hear me tell them I’ll be somewhat out of town, and also failed to look at my very public calendar on my site.

These are good, bright people. Maybe because I sign so many books I’ve become very sensitive to how to spell others’ names. (“How do you spell your name?” I asked a woman. “Just like it sounds,” she said. “Humor me, spell it.” And she did: “Kaidee.”)

We do this with more than names. We do it with directions, instructions, and conversations. In classes I’ve been asked the same question by three different people who didn’t listen to the first one.

Pay attention. You don’t want to lose a piece of business by forgetting to use “Dr.” or spelling “Carmen” as “Carmine.” I can cut you some slack, but others may not.

Just don’t call me “Al.”

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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