A Name is a Title of Dignity

It has happened to all of us. You receive an e-mail or a postal letter and you recognize the name of the sender. Eagerly the envelope is opened and then - yes, there is a greeting such as "Dear" and a blank. There may also be the general "Greetings" on the first line. It is then that you realize that this person or company does not know who you are and they did not take the trouble to at least give you a name.

To most people, their name is their signature in life. It is who they are, what they believe in, as well as their life accomplishments all wrapped up in this neat package of a name. Some individuals just consider a name a legality but do not believe it is who they are or would like you to think they are. In either case, there is a bit of pride when your name is right there in the salutation of any piece of correspondence.

The fate of the writer ever having his note read by the receiver is in the hands of whether the person holding it sees a generalization or horror of horrors - a bad copy made from a master copy. That circular file we all have next to our desks fills up quickly with paper that probably was labored over by someone who truly wanted to get their message across. However, in the nitty gritty of business dealings, personalization has a certain magic about it. It is your name right there staring back at you and instantly, that person or company has credibility in your mind's eye. They took the time to "know" you figurtively. They may never have actually met you, and maybe never will, but to them you were an individual with potential, or quality. You have a name, they took the time to find it, and then, yes, they used it when they addressed you. There is respect in someone using your name. In other words, you are not a nameless one in a bin of thousands. You have a name and whether you would like to change it at some point, it is your name.

It might be such a small gesture but it does make its voice heard. Any correspondence on the internet that identifies you with only your e-mail address is another downer. They have no idea who you are - you are on some type of list and therefore you received this message. While there is hope on the sender side that you will read the message, most people use that dreaded delete button because this is mass mailing and no one truly enjoys being part of a "mass." Individuality is making a person a person in the eyes of the business world. This named individual is not just a hoped for quick sale or subscriber. They are a living, breathing body that wants to know that the sender of anything either knows them or at least would like to get to know them. Maybe this is impossible in huge volumes of mailings, but then the waste of paper or images on a computer will mostly never reach the point that the sender had hoped for.

The old, old adage of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a business mantra that should be on everyone's desk or desktop. In other words, you know fhe feeling of being one of millions in someone's attempt to benefit from a relationship with you, or you could be the one sale that they would like to seal, the one business venture that the sender would like you to be part of. Which one do you respond to - then believe that the receiver of your correspondence will mostly likely feel the same. In business it is many times next to impossible to personally know everyone you contact, but on the receiving end, they don't want to even consider this.

If you make the effort to attract someone's attention by calling them by their personal name, you will have crossed that first part of the journey of making them a customer/ client. Also, if you went through the postal service, you saved a tree or the price of a stamp. Both very good in your favor. If you corresponded over the internet, then you were not subjected to that delete button and someone's finger was not unduly made to work harder than it should. Definitely this is a win-win situation or a no-brainer, depending on your language choices. ©Arleen M. Kaptur June, 2007

Arleen M. Kaptur has written many books and articles on everyday living and finding peace and joy in all we do.