Respectfully Yours: Pronounce name
I have an unusual name and it tends to be mispronounced frequently. What is the politest way to correct someone who keeps saying your name wrong without making it awkward?
Few things are more frustrating than hearing your own name mispronounced.
There is some kind of significance in saying someone’s name to them, so it’s true that getting it wrong is significant, as well.
Naturally, you want to correct the person, but you also don’t want to embarrass them. You need to remind yourself of the simple fact that you aren’t doing anything wrong by correcting them.
When you find yourself wanting to correct a mispronunciation, the key is to correct the person right away, the first time they say it. Bringing it up in the moment and being straightforward can help you prevent continued awkwardness.
Simply be honest and let them know the correct pronunciation the first time you hear them say it wrong. If someone says your name wrong, you can say, “Thank you so much. Actually, my name is … and people confuse it all the time.”
If you just let it go and they find out later, people become very embarrassed. It’s best to politely set it straight from the beginning so you don’t have to have an awkward conversation down the line.
At the end of the day, most name mispronunciations are honest mistakes.
No one wants to address someone incorrectly, so they will be happy to make the correction.
If you’ve already met the person and missed the opportunity to restate your name, it’s best to pull the person aside and politely tell them how your name should be pronounced.
The most important thing to remember is the delivery. Always keep the tone casual and friendly.
Have a question? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training.
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