Make the Effort! Learn How to Pronounce People’s Names.

Many of us feel a strong attachment to our names. Our parents usually gave much thought as to what to name us. They reflect our heritage and culture and often carry a deeper meaning. 

By not learning how to say unfamiliar names, you dismiss that person implying they aren’t important enough to learn the correct pronunciation. 

Making an effort to learn how to say someone’s name is common courtesy. But, much more importantly, you create an inclusive environment in which everyone is seen, recognized, and made to feel they belong.

What to do when you come across an unfamiliar name:

  • Ask the person to repeat it to you a few times.
  • Write it down phonetically.
  • Practice saying until you get it right.
  • Let the person know you will welcome ongoing guidance until you say it correctly.

What to do if your name is mispronounced.

  • As soon as possible, state clearly that their pronunciation is incorrect. Even if you are in a group, this approach can help to guide others.
  • Say the correct pronunciation and suggest a phonetic equivalent.
  • If this mispronunciation has gone on for years, take the person aside and clarify. 
  • You may need to remind the person a few times.