The use of first names in English-speaking environment is common. When you meet someone you can invite them to use your first name with phrases like: ’Please, call me Susan.’/ ’By the way, it’s Andrew.’
Usually, on first meeting someone you adress them by their surname: ’Pleased to meet you, Ms / Mr Johnson.’ Then you can use phrases like : ’Do you mind if I call you Sue / Tom?’ to ask pemission to use their first name.
This question can be answered with phrases such as: ’No, not at all.’/ ’Please do.’
But using first names in business letters can be different. You have to consider your relationship to the letter’s recipient. If you haven’t met the person you are writing to, use his / her last name, with the appropriate title, e.g. ’Mr Karlsson’, ’Ms Smith’. Most corporate environments prefer the neutral, more professional ’Ms’ to ’Miss’ or ’Mrs’.
You can address someone by their first name in some instances such as informal emails or in-house memos if you have met that person before. But, if others in the company will read the letter or it deals with high-level legal, financial or administrative issues and might thus be considered part of an official file, it’s better to address him / her formally.
Also, you have to use the last name if your correspondence includes a third person. For example, if you’re writing to the president of the company and refer to your colleague Mary Smith use ’Ms Smith’ rather than simply ’Mary’.
And, very important, be consistent throughout the text : don’t start a letter to ’Mr Powell’ and end it with ’Thanks, Tom.’
Till next time, the best of luck with your meetings!
English for Meetings, Oxford Business English
Autor: Cecilia Stănia – Trainer intern A_BEST Limba Engleză
Cecilia Stănia este absolventă a Facultăţii de Limbi şi Literaturi Străine Dimitrie Cantemir, specializarea Studii Limba şi literatura Engleză– Limba şi Literatura Germană, promoţia 2010.
Cecilia a fost mereu interesată să-şi îmbunătăţească cunoştinţele de limba engleză, de aceea ea a urmat modulul Psihopedagogic Nivelul I.
În calitate de trainer A_BEST, Cecilia predă engleza – limbaj general şi business – în mediul corporate.