EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I have been known to get seriously silly at times. (I know this will come as a great shock to all of you.)

Back in the old days when I was able to stay up late, Saturday Night Live had an ongoing skit about an individual named Pat. Over the course of the seasons or season it was on (as I indicated, it was a long time ago), all of the skits revolved around figuring out if Pat was a male or a female. Some of them were actually pretty funny. (Keep in mind that it was late at night and I do get slaphappy when I am tired.)

Anyway, the issue for tonight is labeling yourself properly.

As you all know, we have a little field in The FENG database called “Greeting to use.” I suppose it is another one of my many strange ways, but I always like to be able to call folks by their proper name. If their given name is Francis but they go by Frank, I like to know when I call.

Since The FENG is a networking group (and one of the best in the world) you can understand why this might be important. I felt that the first communication between two new friends should begin on the right footing, and there is no greater error than not calling someone by the name they want to hear.

Okay, if this is true, why is it that some folks don’t want to somehow let others know what they like to be called in their business communications related to job search?

What I am talking about here are not only nicknames but also male and female distinctions.

The issue at hand is ensuring that those strangers contacting you are not embarrassed or caught off guard. If you are blessed with a name that may be male or female, or one you don’t usually use, or one that isn’t easy to pronounce you might want to take steps to solve the problem.

With regard to the male/female issue, I can’t tell you how many notes of sponsorship I get and new member applications where it isn’t clear. No matter how many times I read all of the attached material, both parties have at times not ever made it clear or even hinted at it. And, although I am pretty good at guessing, I don’t always get it right.

At networking meetings I frequently see name badges and tents/place cards that don’t reflect the name folks want to be called, but rather their formal name, and I just have to shake my head in disbelief.

All the time they are talking their name is being imprinted on my brain.

I just wish they would let me burn the right one into my memory. (Of course, male/female is usually pretty easy at our meetings.)

Regards, Matt

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