Tips For Addressing People Formally

Tips For Addressing People Formally

When you meet someone under social or business circumstance, it is very important that you address the person properly. Addressing people correctly only shows how you respect their position. The below mentioned tips will help you to address people correctly.


1) If in doubt, keep it formal.

If you meet someone in a business situation and don’t know how to address them, then keep it formal. For e.g. you may simply say, ‘’Nice to meet you sir’’. However it is possible that the person says, ‘’you can call me Bill’’. Unless directed, it is better to keep it formal.

2) Use Mr., Miss., Mrs.

In case you know the last name, you should use Mr., Miss., Mrs.
For e.g. – “Hello Mrs. Robertson, how may I help you?

3) Use professional address where applicable.

If you are addressing a member of the medical fraternity or academic profession and if you are aware of their titles that relates to their profession, then please make use of the same. For e.g. Dr. Doolittle OR Professor Smith. You may end up offending them if you don’t do so.

4) If you are not sure, ASK.

It doesn’t harm to ask someone how they wish to be addressed? Use formal addresses first and then ask them if they prefer something else. You could also ask questions like ‘’Is it ok if I call you Rachel’’?

5) Sometimes you should only use last names. 

In an informal situation you can always use first names. For e.g. In a wedding if you are introducing people you can always say ‘’Hi I am Carol and this is my husband James’’. On the other hand if you are introducing people in a formal situation you should use salutations and last names. And for women you can always use Ms. (whether married or unmarried)

6) While corresponding by email, be formal at first.

Use formal address the very first time, however the recipient will let you know how to address them in future communication. If they don’t let you know you can safely continue.

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