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Responses to the Post on Names

The post below actually was my emailed TelE-Sales Tip of the Week a couple of weeks ago. It certainly struck a chord with lots of people. Thought you might find some of them interesting, and a couple quite amusing!


Hi Art,

I have been a long time fan of the weekly tips and this one really made me want to comment!

Quite simply, you put in words so eloquently the experience of having an unusual name. In a shared experience kind of way it made me laugh.

My surname is not so complicated by comparison, its Bibic. But it should have an accent over the c, which means it is pronounced Bib-itch (naturally many keyboards/ applications don’t have this option). I will pronounce my name and then spell it for people - to this day, I am amazed at how common it is to hear people then tell me that its bib-bick (ala your ‘Don’t rename them’ tip). Bold as brass, they have just told me that I am pronouncing my name incorrectly!

What I find really interesting is that it makes a real positive impact on me when someone listened and gets the pronunciation right. I really want to interact with that person, who through a small action of listening has already warmed me up!

Thanks for the tip (never hurts to be reminded of good manners) and thanks for the laugh.

Trevor Bibic

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Art, Good article!!

I have the first name of Richard….but go by the name of Dick…so you know the comments. I have never let it bother me, and most people call me Mr. Beal instead of Dick. I gotta tell ya in sales it gives you some great creditability when people who know you call you MR.!

Like you say the yuk,yuks I don’t worry about

Dick Beals

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Art, This one always makes me laugh. My son is the captain of his hockey team. And one of his very good friends is "John Traczewski." It never ceases to amaze me how many PA announcers butcher that name when they do the starting lineup. You can hear them pausing, and say, ‘um, er, John, um, Tray-um-chzhwesssski."

You wonder why they don’t take the time to read the program in advance and try and find out…especially since we often play in the same rinks more than once in a weekend! By the 3rd game you’d think SOMEONE would come ask the kid how to pronounce his name…which is actually fairly easy. They pronounce it "Trah CHESS key."

Tim Nelson
McGraw Hill Construction

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Art, I love this Tip on names. I, too, have an unusual last name of Musolf (moose-off) which is rarely pronounced correctly. As such I try to be very sensitive to the correct pronunciation of names and often put the phonetic pronunciation in my sales notes.

The other key point is not to rename people. My name is Michael and I introduce myself as Michael, but often people instantly call me Mike which drives me up the wall (someone won’t be getting a sale doing that).

Lastly thank you for sharing http://www.pronouncenames.com . It will be a very helpful sales tool. (And, yes, I have already added the pronunciation of Musolf.)

Keep up the great work!

Michael Musolf

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Art, Yes, I have heard "Pat Breast in a Hand" more than once growing up!

Best Regards,

Pat Bresnahan
Business Development Representative
Genevieve Swiss Industries

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What is your experience with names…if you, too, have an unusual one, or if you’ve had any other experience you’d like to share.

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  1. 4 Comment(s)

  2. By Tamazine Fritz on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    I share in the same boat. My first name is Tamazine (TAM uh zeen) but everyone’s afriad of it when they see it written out because it’s so unusual. Some people take a stab at it and add extra letters (Tazameen) and others just give up and call me Ms. Fritz. It was murder in elementary school, I just waited for the pause in roll call around the T’s. But it’s neat now having a name that is so different.

  3. By Lon Palmer on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    I had to laugh at the newsletter and comments about pronouning names. I have been a high school announcer for football and basketball games for 26 years and take pride in announcing players names correctly. I visit with each coach prior to the game on any names which are in question, or, I know from experience, can be pronouced different ways in different parts of the country.

    You mentioned the name of Wojtkewkowski in your newsletter and I had an interesting experience with a player with that name. I asked the football player how to pronoune his name. He told me to write it down, “watch your house key” and say the phrase quickly and I would never get his name wrong. I had at least a dozen fans after the ball game want to know how I was able to pronounce that name. To most parents it is a sin if their son or daughter’s name is mispronounced. The funniest situations are those parents that are not in agreement of how to pronounce their kids name. One week one way, the next game, another way. I have had a number of players ask me to pronounce their name the way they want it, only at half time their folks are at me table saying, “No, you should pronounce their name this way.” I tell them their son/daughter wins out since they are the player and are in the spotlight. The toughtest name for away announcers was one of our players named Rhzia. No one was able to pronounce it correctly. Try “she ha” and you have it. Announcers are the messengers; however, sometimes you really want do want to tape the mouth and kill the message of the mispronounciation.

  4. By Jack Montgomery on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    Good Morning Art! I have enjoyed reading the comments from your
    > readers. My name is Jack Montgomery, not too complicated but I am
    > called Jeff fairly often when contacting customers and simply shrug it
    > off. I did not think my last name was a challenge per se but at times
    > I have to pronounce it 2 or 3 times and then spell it for them. A lot
    > of folks over the years want to add “mac” to the front of my sir name.
    > I just shrug it off and keep moving ahead.
    > Have your best day ever!

  5. By Frank Krueger on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    My last name is Krueger, and my frist name begins with an “F”; until they started with the movies, life was pretty good. Now, I can’t made plane, dinner, hotel, or any type of reservations without the obligatory “Any kin to Freddy Krueger?” joke being appended.

    And you just know that the people who don’t say it get my business.

    When I ask someone how to pronounce their name, or they tell me that I was polite about not making fun of their name, I have the built in reply - “My name is Krueger; I’m not making fun of ANYONE’S name”

    Of course, there is an upside, especially for sales - NO ONE forgets my name! And it DOES make a decent opener . . .

    Frank Krueger

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