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How Important Is Your Name?

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What’s in a name? Well, it turns out a lot. How does your name affect your chances of success and would you change it?

Currently, I’m sitting at 21 weeks pregnant with my second child and have a name list the length of my arm. There are names I truly love but would be afraid to give a child. I find names that sound great for a child but just don’t seem to age well. How important is a middle name? Should that sound okay in a professional setting, too? The pressure is intense. You’re naming a person after all. This is important stuff!

I don’t really want a name that is trendy or a name that everyone is using. I went to school with 4 girls named Britney in one of my classes. Okay, so that’s now another rule to try to follow. If you take a look at the social security website, they list popular names by the year. For me, I think a name has to be familiar; meaning made-up names should be off the table.

You’re more likely to run across issues while introducing yourself. My name is pretty familiar and yet, people still call me Melissa. It can make for an awkward moment, that’s for sure. How would you handle this situation? Sarah Landrum at The Ladders shared some of her ideas on how you can handle people who keep getting your name wrong.

name tag

© Flickr user quinn.anya.

Go with phonetics

You may think it’s weird to do, but when introducing yourself, try just spelling it out for people.

Insert a phonetic spelling of your name into your email signature, such as Sigh-Oh-Wren for Sioryn. This approach will help others adjust to your name if it’s not typical to where you’re working and living or a little too modern for folks. It’s stealthy and direct enough to work!

Keep being straightforward

It’s hard to be bold in an already awkward situation. But if it’s important to you that people say your name right, then you have to steel yourself. It’s okay to correct someone but do it without blaming them, too. Don’t be afraid to interrupt the conversation with a correction, either.

These three tactics won’t stop people from getting your name wrong, but they offer tools that tackle different types of personalities and learning styles. The quiet folks who are visual learners and need repetition can check your social media and email signatures.

Refer to yourself

This one is a little…nutty. But I enjoy crazy and a lot of people will probably get a kick out of it, too. Refer to yourself in the third person while conversing!

You say, “One day, a rogue lion found its way into the office, and someone was bound to get bitten. So, I thought to myself, Sioryn (said correctly), you can either tame this lion and rise to the occasion, or die. Obviously, I made a new friend.”

You may come across a little like George from Seinfeld, but who doesn’t appreciate a little bit of George-ness now and again?

So in reality, yes, a name is really important. You don’t want to give your child a lifetime of misery always correcting people or being embarrassed to introduce themselves. We here at AccelaWork know how important confidence is, especially when it comes to the business world. It really is one of the secrets to being successful. If you do pick a truly awful name for your child, the good news is that they can change it when they get older. So I guess you could have a little fun until they have a say!

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Alyssa Shea

Alyssa Shea

Alyssa Shea transplanted from Illinois to South Carolina. She loves to write, read, and spend time with her dog and her family. Alyssa is very active on social media. She has been part of the AccelaWork team since 2013.
Alyssa Shea

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