By guest blogger and law student: Jon Ivanco
Professionalism is all in the details. I canâ€™t tell you how many times people make this mistake with something as basic and simple as my name. I can tell you though how much it bothers me. I can also tell you that it bothers me more and more with the amount of correspondence I have with an individual in a professional capacity.
See the thing is, my name defines me. Much like a name of a company is picked to define it, my parents spent time picking my name and I have made it my own. I have earned the right to be called by my name and have it spelled correctly. There is not even one justifiable reason why someone cannot get it right, especially in emails. My handle in all my emails is â€œJon Ivancoâ€. All of them, without exception.
Should I be a little less bothered by this? Should I simply just say close enough? No. Never. Not allowed. And Iâ€™ll tell you why. It is three letters long, itâ€™s not exactly unique, and to most people it is largely considered idiot proof.
In the real world, names do matter, and they can destroy your confidence in people. Letâ€™s just say I have a list of people who have destroyed my confidence in them. My correspondence with professionals is about knowledge and information. This is not always the case though.
In a conversation a few months back with a close friend of mine, a co-founder of an internet startup in the Bay Area, she was explaining to me how she went to a law firm with a great reputation in Silicon Valley for assisting start-ups. They specialized in drafting agreements for businesses, LLC, partnership, operating agreements, etc. and they billed a pretty penny. So when this big well known firm gave back their paperwork with their company name wrong on it, they were less than pleased. In fact they were downright insulted.
I was amazed when I heard this, have we gotten to the point where we just care about the billable hour so much that we cannot get the name right of a company, not just in one place but have it different on multiple parts of the documents? But wait it gets worse, some of their personal names were not even spelled right.
My friendâ€™s story didnâ€™t end with the horrible lack of detail to business and their personal names. It was made even worse when the bill came for legal services rendered. On the detailed invoice they were billed at the standard hourly rate to fix the problems they created when they got their names wrong.
So not only did the firm manage to greatly offend them, show them an example of how little they cared about representing them by not paying attention to their business or them as clients, but they had the audacity to find a way to profit off their own mistake. I know this is a down economy and everyone is looking to squeeze a little more money out of clients to stay afloat and drive revenues, but I expect more of everyone.
So is there a difference between Jon and John? I think you know my opinion by now. Give me bad news, show you donâ€™t care and you might just receive an email back from me pointing out your error, because again, yes itâ€™s a big deal.