What To Do When You Can’t Pronounce A Name {Speech Etiquette}

Mar 07, 2023
What To Do When You Can’t Pronounce A Name {Speech Etiquette}

Learning to pronounce someone’s name properly allows for meaningful conversations, better relationships, and more successful professional and social interactions. 

But sometimes, it can get a little awkward when you just aren’t sure HOW to pronounce a person’s name. This lesson will explain 5 tips for what to do when you don’t know how to pronounce someone’s name. 

If you're a teacher, this would be a great activity for a session because you can engage your student in conversation while teaching them something new. 


Pronouncing someone’s name correctly is basic etiquette and one of the simplest ways to show respect. It shows that you are paying attention, that you are interested in the other person as an individual, and that you care about your interactions with them.

Developing Relationships

When a person hears their own name pronounced correctly, they often feel more respected and valued by those around them. And if the person saying the name is an ESL speaker who is not familiar with common names of English, that extra effort means even more. 

Building Rapport

Getting someone’s name wrong can cause confusion, and if you do it too many times, it can even cause resentment or hurt feelings. However, getting the pronunciation of names right builds trust because it shows that you care enough about the other person to take time out of your day to make sure their name is pronounced the right way. This deepens any relationship, whether personal or professional.

Properly pronouncing someone's name is one of the most basic forms of respect we can show each other as human beings. Not only does it show care and interest, it also develops trust between people and inevitably leads to stronger relationships built upon mutual understanding and respect.

Using proper pronunciation is really just basic etiquette that allows for meaningful conversations without any misunderstandings due to incorrect pronunciation. And this creates better relationships and more successful social and professional conversations and interactions.

Link to my 100 Most Common American Names Lesson:

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