A recent project created by Al Jezeera America, What's in a Name, invites users to tell the story of their name and explore the meaning of others' names, and how they relate to identity.
Reading through the submissions shows how names can be laden with meaning, origin stories and history. What people are called can tell an elaborate story about them, their history and their culture.
This project resonated strongly with me. My mother chose to name me Jo ana and to spell my name this way specifically to show my preciousness when she feared another sad ending to a pregnancy.
When someone gets my name wrong, of course I take it in stride; I have grown accustomed to correcting spelling and pronunciation. However, I do make special note of when someone gets it right. It shows they are present in their work and notice the little things.
In an increasingly global world, we are all exposed to names whose spelling and pronunciation might be foreign to us and with increased communication responsibilities, it is easy to not pay attention to the details, like how someone spells their name.
While we can all be forgiven for mistakes in this era overrun in-boxes, paying attention to the names of your coworkers, consumers and everyone else you come into contract with can create a large impact from such a simple gesture.