A: Most people find it uncomfortable to correct someone addressing them by the wrong name, when doing so actually saves them from the additional embarrassment that comes along with referring to you by the wrong name in front of other friends and colleagues. Letting it go only makes the situation more difficult.
When someone has routinely called you by the wrong name for a long period of time, and you haven’t corrected them, it naturally seems uncomfortable to make things right after your silence. However, it’s worse if you don’t tell them; give them the opportunity to correct their innocent mistake. Using a friendly tone of voice and a natural smile say, “Sue, I know I haven’t brought this up in the past, but my name is Diane, not Dana. It’s an easy mistake and I should have said something much earlier. I wanted to clear the air before you introduce me at the networking event.”
If they are calling you something completely different, use the same technique as above but add, “When we met I think you had me confused me with someone else, and I’m remiss for not correcting the confusion immediately. My name is Melissa, not Joanne – forgive me for not clearing this up sooner.”
Q: “My last name can be difficult to pronounce for some people, and I feel uncomfortable correcting their attempt(s) at what I know can be a challenging name. Do I smile and ignore their mistake, or clarify?”
A: If your first or last name is one that is often mispronounced, I suggest something along these lines: “Julia, my last name can be a bit tricky. It’s Weyrauch, pronounced ‘Y’ as is yellow and ‘rock’ like the stone – Weyrauch. I hope that helps!”
It is also appropriate for you to share a memory trick like the one above when you introduce yourself to a new group of business associates, a client or those you meet at a networking event.
Q: “I have a name that is often misspelled, which can mean people having difficulty finding me when they search for me on the web. Any tips?”
A: It’s up to you to be proactive. Make sure your business card has your social media information and it is prominently displayed on your website. When offering it verbally, spell out your social media name by saying “It’s ‘V’ as in Victor, not ‘B’ as in Boy”.
In summary, the next time you are called by the wrong name, or your name is mispronounced, address it immediately. It will be a courteous gesture and eliminate unnecessary stress.