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How to recover when you get someone’s name wrong in an email

Messing up someone’s name in an email is so embarrassing. But with the number of emails that find their way into our inboxes every day, it’s probably happened to you. Here’s how to recover.

Follow-up in a human way after you catch your mistake

Writer Kathryn Shanley writes on LinkedIn about how she did this.

“Recently, I sent an email to a prospective client with a job bid. I knew all about her company, what associations she belonged to, what publications she read but obviously didn’t learn enough about her because I spelled her name wrong in the salutation! I tried not to beat myself up too much because I knew my brain was focusing on the meaning of my email rather than the spelling of her name,” she writes. “I sent her an email apologizing for my mistake and told her how much it irks me when someone spells my name wrong. She got right back to me requesting more information about my proposal and said people often spell her name incorrectly.”

If you’re using Gmail, hit the miraculous “undo” button

We’ve waited our whole lives for this! Having a button that will take back that email within a specific window of time probably could’ve saved you a whole lot of anxiety in the past. So take advantage of it.

Just make sure you’ve enabled the feature in “Settings” first — right now, you can choose to retrieve the message after either five, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.

Bonus tip: do this before someone messes up your name

It works both ways — save yourself before you’re on the receiving end of this mistake.

Writer Stav Ziv writes in The Muse about what to do to prevent someone from calling you the wrong name via email, and features advice from an expert who is the founder of Frable Consulting.

Alex Durand, a Muse Career Coach, urges people to bolster their email signature with ‘a phonetic spelling if your name is atypical or not frequent in part of world where you live.’ In other words, write it out in parentheses the way you would for graduation,” Ziv writes.

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