Never Call Michael," Mike"
or
Really Dumb Things People Do to
Interfere with Their Success


You see it everyday. Someone introduces two strangers and the following ensues:


Case 1:

"David, I'd like to introduce you to James Smith."
"Hello, Jim." James grinds his teeth. David doesn't even notice. He might notice if James replied,"Great to meet you Davey, but James is too well mannered for that so he just simmers and instantly characterizes David as an idiot. So much for the future of any deals they might make and David hasn't a clue that there's problem.

Case 2:
"Sam, I'd like you to meet Matthew Hanson."
"Hi there, Matt."
Every muscle in Matthew's body contracts and his blood pressure rises.

Case 3:
"John, I'd like you to meet Morton.
"How's it goin', Mort?"
John doesn't know it yet but nothing else he says will penetrate Morton's ears from this point onward.

Case 4:

"Fred, this is the Debra Johnson that I've told you so much about."
"Great to meet you, Debbie."
Well, it might have been great, but Debra has already cringed at Fred's insensitivity at not getting her name right, a knickname she has worked hard to lose since tenth grade.


Case 5:
"Jeff, meet Michael."
"Pleasure to meet you, Mike."
It might be a pleasure for Jeff, but Michael is already bristling and has decided that Jeff if synonomous with Jerk.


What's the big deal? Isn't every William really a Bill or Billy?

The answer is an emphatic NO. Simply stated, a person's name is an extremely personal part of his and her being. Consciously or unconsciously, each of us has accepted our name as part of our answer to who we are. James is not the same as Jiimmy; Frederick is not the same as Fred or Freddie and Susan is not Sue or Susie.

But I see it every day. People are introduced and one of them jumps to the illogical conclusion that this total stranger wants to be called by an informal nickname. When this happens, if you watch carefully, you will see an invisible wall implant itself between them that keeps them in clear view of one another but keeps the offended party distanced from the offender.

I have watched people try to tactfully correct the situation by referring to themselves by their full name in the course of conversation to give clues to the other party that this is the name they wish to be called. For example, Michael, having been repeatedly referred to as Mike, and not being able to stand it any longer, interjects his correction as follows:
"I was talking with John the other day and he said to me, "Michael, that is a great idea."
If, after that ploy, the offender continues to call Michael "Mike," Micheal writes him off as a fool.
And then there is the case of Morton, who was ALWAYS Morton. . .never Mort and certainly never Morty!

Morton was president of a $200,000,000 company. While he always introduced himself as "Morton," he frequently was diminished to "Mort" quickly after an introduction.
Knowing how much he hated to be called anything but Morton, I asked him how he responded when people distorted his name. He remarked"ÓIt tells me, first, that this person doesn't listen and doesn't care about what I want or what I have to say. If you can't get my name straight, can I trust you to do anything else right? If I then correct you and say," My name is Morton," and you STILL insist on calling me Mort or, Heaven Forbid, Morty, I now have you pegged as an idiot which makes you even more dangerous. One thing is for sure: we will never do business together because I don't trust you to get ANYTHING straight!"

Such simplicity! Such a simple step on the road to success.
So, what did you learn? Listen to the name of the person to whom you are being introduced. Use that name, and that name only, until you are invited by that individual to use another name in your conversations and DO NOT step one foot over the line lest you find that foot firmly planted in your mouth. . . not a good way to start any relationship!