I quickly switch to “May I speak with MISTER Anderson”, because I fear that asking for William will sound too pompous if he’s really Bill, and asking for Bill will sound too presumptuous when I say we haven’t met or spoken before.
It is generally easier to grow less formal than to grow more formal.
The receptionist puts me through, the phone rings four times and then “You have reached Bill Anderson; please leave a message”.
So it is “Bill”, and I update my contact data to read “William (Bill)”.
(2) The name in the press release is “Kolch”.
How do you pronounce it?
I don’t know either, but my reasoning is that people with weird names are accustomed to errant pronunciations and know how to correct their callers gently. They wouldn’t be successful if they didn’t have people skills.
So I call.
And get voice-mail, where the name is pronounced for me, by my contact.
(“Coal-ch”, in case you were wondering).
(3) A search by phone number reveals several “bio” pages, one of which states “MS 1970 McGill University BS 1967 McGill University”.
What do you know!
He is my age; that’s the year I graduated (albeit on the far side of the globe).
Now I know we are peers by experience.
Plus he must be close to retirement.