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In our #international #communication #skills #workshops we often talk about the importance of taking time to learn a person's name. It might sound like basic advice but using a person’s name is a key starting point to creating an #inclusive #environment in the #workplace. It increases a person's feeling of #well-being and #sense of #belonging.

Asking how to #pronounce a colleague's name can feel awkward. But not knowing how to say it properly may mean that you avoid #interacting with that person. If your name is unusual, you might well have experienced this.

In a recent BBC article by Dhruti Shah, different professionals share their experience of people getting their name wrong at work. Dhruti herself says her name can autocorrect to Dorito. Colleagues might #mispronounce her name as ‘Dirty’ or they misspell it as ‘Druhti’. In a similar vein, Sorrel Shalet, Head of people at Smart Energy GB, often has to explain how to pronounce her name. When she introduces herself, people think she’s saying ‘Sorry’ so she usually tells them how to pronounce it correctly by saying that it rhymes with ‘coral.’

In fact, that’s a trick I’ve learned. As somebody whose name was shortened at birth to Zanne, I’m frequently called Zana, Zannie, Zane and even Sam. Just for the record, it’s pronounced Zan and it #rhymes with can, van and man. Research shows that our brains light up when we hear our name and I still feel an instance of joy every time somebody addresses me by the name that I like to be called. It's a big part of who I am.

It can be difficult telling somebody they’re pronouncing your name wrong but how long should you put up with somebody not getting your name right? Maybe it's time to reclaim your name.

If you don’t take the time to learn and process a person’s name, you may not have the same level of interaction and understanding that you would have with someone whose name you recognise and pronounce correctly.

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