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I went to a couple of events last week and collected a bakers’ dozen worth of business cards. After the event, I sat down and responded personally to everyone whom I had met and connected with him or her online.

When I started emailing a few, I caught A BIG mistake people make with their business cards! The BIG mistake people make is when they put their “given” name rather than the name they want to be called, or the one they used when they introduced themselves. For example:

Susan, who really goes by Sue!

William, who really goes by Bill!

Jonathan, who really goes by his middle name, Jake!

Felecia, who really likes to be called Fay!

Don’t put a name on there that you don’t introduce yourself as, or you don’t want to be called! Also, if you are one of those people who say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter which one you call me, I go by Susan or Sue,” please pick one!

This happened to me a few years ago when I used to go by my last name, Avery. I had Ryan on my business card, but introduced myself as Avery.

I didn’t know how much I really confused people until this moment sitting down at my computer looking at four business cards with names of people who introduced themselves differently.

Having a different name on your card is very confusing for the person on the receiving end. It can make the person who is reaching out to you second guess themselves. They might look at the card and think, “I could have sworn she said her name was “X”, or “Well, if that is what he goes by, how do you think he spells it?”

Don’t let the first impression you give to people confuse them!

What do you want people to call you? Put that on your business card. I know, I know, you have a professional side that you are trying to portray, but remember, people don’t do business with business professionals; they do business with people!

We want to know the real you!

So, if you want to be called Sue, Bill, Jake, Fay – or anything else – let us know what your friends call you, because in business the more friends you have the more business opportunities you have!

Some of you need to reprint your business cards, today! As always…

Dream BIG,

Ryan Avery

Author Ryan Avery

Hi, my name is Ryan Avery! Every Sunday I share the "notes" I use to build my keynotes. They are personal stories and tangible strategies we can use to improve the way we communicate at work, at home and with ourselves.

More posts by Ryan Avery

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Vivien says:

    Agreed Ryan! I once knew a guy in my class who always went with his middle name during networking etc but when it came time to submit job applications he reverted back to his legal name, without giving much of a hint as to what name he usually goes by. Got a lot of face palming reactions from us when we found out, and I almost think he got no callbacks because of it. Very powerful post!

  • Allan says:

    I bet you picked up more than a few cards like that when you were in China last year. People here often use an “English Name” at the Toastmasters meetings, but then have their business cards printed all in Chinese.

  • Ryan Avery says:

    Thanks for sharing Vivien! That is tough and I did the same thing a couple years ago with using “Avery” as my first name. Verrrrry confusing! I hope you are doing well and enjoying the start to your week.

  • Ryan Avery says:

    This might have happened once or twice while I was in China 🙂 But many of them had two sides (One with their Chinese name and one with their English name which I feel is very appropriate in that context).

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