Are you planning to meet someone that has an unusual name which makes you wonder about their country of origin?
Do you want to stand out in the crowd when connecting with them?
Do you ask them the sensitive question "Where are you from in order to connect?"
If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, you want to read this post to the end!
I was at Starbucks a few days back and despite the cashier's effort to spell my name right; he had it all wrong. When my name was called, I almost didn’t want to pick up my Americano. As an energy leadership coach, I thought to myself; I can create an opportunity out of this unintentional mistake. Instead of getting angry at the employee, I smiled, picked up my coffee and said; “That’s me, I am a Moran!” And laughed. Seeing my sense of humor, few others joined, and the cashier apologized for his hastiness and lack of attention to write my name: M E H R A N!
As an immigrant of almost 2 decades, I'm accustomed to all different names I am given and the different ways my name is pronounced. Compared to the challenges I faced as an immigrant, my name, and its uniqueness is minisqual! I rarely spend my energy on correcting others to pronounce my name well. Over the years, there were only a handful of people who pronounced my name right and I know them by name!
There were periods I changed my name to Megan to avoid being different or my name being butchered. and that’s only my first name! Forget my last name…Sorourian (soh-roh-ree-ahn) My last name is so “difficult” that It became strange to me…
This phenomenon is not unique to me. Most of my friends either shorten their name to Mr.Y , Dr. D, Mo, Fey, or change it altogether to an American version such as Alex, Sam, Mary to blend easier and to avoid spelling their names every time they meet someone new. Despite this change in the new community, they will always be the same in a group of close friends and family. Our names are part of our character, culture, and background. It has a special meaning to us and by simplifying, shortening or mispronouncing, it loses its identity. Most of us love our names, regardless of how unique it is to other beings.
Can you imagine walking in a country that no one could pronounce your name? Now, what would happen if from the middle of the crowd someone called your name the exact way your mom did? How would you approach that person? If they asked for a favor or wanted to do business with you, how would you treat them? Would they be different from everyone else around you?
Mike was a coworker at my last job who called me MeH-rawn. Really pronouncing the h. The same way my family called me. As a result, every time he said my name, it pushed me back to my memories of home. I couldn’t stop smiling. He automatically got my full attention and he was very very special! I rarely rejected his request for help and enjoyed working close to him. All, for one thing, pronouncing my name well outside of the home!
To my point, a few months back, I was reading the iconic book “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. In one of the chapters, he talked about the importance of peoples names and its effects on their business. He believes that our names are one of the most important parts of our identity regardless of our position or status. And by taking the time to learn to pronounce it, you can advance your career and build stronger relationships.
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Dale Carnegie
As previously noted, people with difficult names are accustomed to hearing different pronunciations and might not bother to enforce the correct pronunciation. Its up to you to research beforehand. Ask someone from the same culture to pronounce it for you. Practice with them! If you don’t know someone from the same country, use social media, Facebook, or NameShout.com to find the pronunciation.
I would love to hear your experiences with others mispronouncing your name or tricks to learn pronunciations easily. Was this post helpful? If so, share it with someone who is looking to strengthen their connection.
Image used from: https://blog.myheritage.com/2015/09/names-how-do-you-say-that-2/ on july 13,2018