Consultants are in business to help their clients.  Program directors’ main job is to maintain full enrollment while making sure the program quality is the best it can be in all respects.  

Programs relate to families and children, consultants relate to clients.  No matter what we call the members of the relationship, the first part of the relationship is about connecting to the family member or client by name. Our name is an important part of our identity. If the person has an unfamiliar name, practice saying it over and over again until it’s right. And remember how to say it. Sometimes, I make little tips for myself so in between contacts, I don’t forget.

My own first name is Ellen. It starts my business email address: and my main social email address starts with the letter E. While it’s not the most common first name, it’s a “common” name that shouldn’t be hard.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with a customer service/email/domain “consultant” who helped me fix up my email accounts. There are a few domains with emails attached to each. Since the prices for email addresses have risen, it was time to prune, move, and otherwise work on them. We were on the phone more than ½ hour, talking about all of the email addresses, some of them starting with “ellen” and some starting with “e”. With all of the deleting, moving, and keeping, the name “Ellen” had to have been said more than 50 times, and other emails starting with “e” close to the same number of times. While the “consultant”  was waiting to make changes happen, she told me how making connections with people was so important to her. I liked that.

A few minutes after the phone call, I got  the follow-up email she had told me about.  She sent it to my email address which started with “e”, with the correct account number and the correct phone number.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the greeting: “Hello Helen”!

Here’s part of my reply to her: “My name, as in every one of the emails we spoke about, is ELLEN, not Helen.”

Here’s a tip: The people in your life don’t usually notice when you get their name right, but they ALWAYS notice when you don’t.


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