Are you a Generous Mind?

Are you a Generous Mind? If you are intrigued by the idea, this is a place to explore what it means to you. Our blog focuses on helping you to learn what it means to be generous with what you know. You will find helpful tips and encouraging examples that will inspire you to release your ideas to the world! Find out more at

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

It’s All in the Name

NOTE: We are pleased to have Vikki Walton sharing her thoughts about how to be a Generous Mind by learning people's names and paying attention to details. After all, how can you share your ideas with someone if you can't even get their name right!

It’s happened to me. Maybe it’s happened to you as well. You contact someone through email or they message you, and they respond with your name spelled incorrectly. For those of us with various ways that our name can be spelled we simply accept this on most occasions. However, when your name is written there in full view or the person has been corresponding with you for some time and still spells your name incorrectly, then it begins to become frustrating.

The statement has been made that the sweetest word is the sound of a person’s own name. In these days of visual dialogue, the incorrect spelling of a name is often no different than calling Jane . . . Sue. So why should this matter? Because it reveals a lot about the individual. Are they detailed? Do they take the time to ensure that they are correct in their response? Do they care about others?

Certainly if someone doesn’t spell a name correctly, it doesn’t automatically make that person someone who lacks empathy or is disrespectful of others. However, in my profession as a nonprofit consultant I work with many individuals who interact with those who may become donors to their organization. If these groups expect—or want—others to be generous, they must return the favor by showing respect to that person by addressing them correctly.
So how can you show your generosity to others?
1.      When you meet someone and they state their name, ask them, “Is it spelled this way” or “How do you spell your name?” For most people, that not only shows your interest in them but that you respect them.

2.      If you goof and spell someone’s name incorrectly through digital correspondence, quickly respond back to them with an apology. Most people will simply think it is inconsequential and forget about it. However, those who have taken the time to come back and apologize for their error have risen a notch in my estimation of them.

3.      Use the person’s name when you speak or correspond with them. Not only will this help you to remember them, but it builds a greater connection. For example: “Hi. Jon. Nice to meet you. Do you spell your name with an h?” Then as you leave, to reinforce your remembrance of them, you can state their name again. If you want to begin to remember people’s names, the easiest way is simply speaking it.
A name is the most personal thing a person shares with the world, and you can be assured that “a lilac by any other name would not smell as sweet.“
Vikki (not Vicky or Vickie or Vickky or Vikkie or Vickkie) Walton
Vikki Walton is Founder and President of grants for higher, llc. As a nonprofit consultant, certified grants specialist and certified grants reviewer, she comes alongside nonprofits that are intent on taking their vision to the next level. She is also a requested speaker for nonprofit training seminars and women’s events. As a freelance writer, her byline has appeared in local papers such as the Gazette’s “Experience”, “Home”, as well as the Broadmoor’s in-house magazine.  She has also had pieces published in magazines and compilation books and is a book reviewer for The spelling of her name was taken from the singer, Vikki Carr.

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