It’s Pronounced Al-er-eese
Today my name was Alice.
When I was younger I absolutely hated my name. To this day many of my closest friends do not know my full name. In fact, my children only became familiar with my middle name a few years ago, shameful.
As an adult, I became aware of the meaning of my name, and with it a new-found sense of appreciation for the uniqueness of my name and realize that it is reflective of the many unique things about me. It’s as if my parents knew that I would be different and needed to have a name to fit my personality.
The problem with having a unique name is that it can be extremely hard to pronounce. Because I am in the business of making people feel comfortable I tend to not make a big deal when people mispronounce or completely get my name wrong. However, I am very aware that there are people who take offence to having their name butchered.
Here are a few tricks that you can use to remember and correctly pronounce unique names.
If you are reading the name, it is perfectly ok to ask how one pronounces their name. There is no need to be embarrassed by not knowing how to pronounce a name. We live in a global society and you will inevitably run into someone with a name that is unique to you. My name is of Greek origin, though I was born in the Caribbean.
Once you have heard the name, repeat the name and verify that you have pronounced it correctly. Write the name phonetically, the way it sounds to you. For instance, if you hear the name Delila you may want to write D-Lie-La, it may seem silly but it will ensure that you pronounce the name correctly.
Use the name immediately and throughout the conversation appropriately. Using the name immediately and appropriately throughout the conversation is also a great tip that will allow you to remember someone’s name, which is also a great tip if you have a hard time remembering names.
Associating a person’s name with a person, place, object or event is another great way of being able to remember and correctly enunciate a person’s name. With names that you are not familiar with, asking the origin or meaning of the name is a great tool that allows you to associate and remember names.
If/When you mispronounce someone’s name, please apologize and endeavor to pronounce the name correctly. If the name is extremely difficult for you to pronounce, ask if there is another name they would like to be called. If I note that someone is really having a hard time with my name I will exercise grace and allow myself to be referred to as Alice, Allison, Alease, you get the drift. LOL.
In Dale Carnegies ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People” he states “Remember that a person’s name to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. Using the etiquette tips I outlined above will put you well on the way of honoring and respecting the people that you met and may afford you the opportunity to forge new business and professional relationships.