Networking Pitfall: Call Someone Mr. or Ms.
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job SearchNetworking
After you’ve graduated from college, the only appropriate time to address someone with the title Mr., Mrs. or Ms. is when you’re meeting your parents’ friends or the head of country. And in the latter case, you’d use the title of president, prime minister, king/queen, raj, emperor/empress or whatever the rest of their country calls them. I can only imagine if you’re hanging out in those circles, you’re probably not reading this!
In general business and social settings it is more than appropriate to call people by their first name. So why do so many people still address others with such formality? You might say it’s a sign of respect. I might suggest that it’s awkward (and even more awkward when you get it wrong – like calling a single woman Mrs. or assigning the wrong gender to someone!). It creates a fictitious sense of who might be on a higher plane. The most appropriate way to show someone a sign of respect is to call them by their name. It puts you both on a level playing field. After all, no one is any better than you (and likewise, you’re no better than anyone else).
So, quit addressing people through email, letter or in person by anything other than their first name (and that goes for “Dear Sir or Madam” – what, are we still in the 18th century?). Show them you know how to be an adult who is worthy of an actual conversation!