I was recently at a formal event where a few dozen individuals were honored with a “once-in-a-lifetime”, very selective, award.
Presenting the awards were leaders from the various sponsors of the event. And, on several occasions, honorees’ names were pronounced wrong.
Some were difficult, or confusing, but still it was clear that some presenters simply hadn’t taken the 5-10 seconds needed to figure them out.
The worst was this – a presenter fumbled someone’s name, but then, instead of apologizing or clarifying, he said:
It’s likely the award winner’s family, friends and other loved ones were present, all dressed to the nines for this moment of honor, and it was sullied by “close enough.”
I used to work in public schools, where daily announcements were given over the speaker system, and would often wince when the names of foreign exchange students were butchered.
Worse yet, these students were sometimes only called by their first names, e.g. “Would John Smith, Mary Blair, and, um… Asuka, I guess, report to the office please.”
A similar, but also undignified, slight occurred when siblings were lumped together. For example, instead of calling “Kara Mohs” and “Kelsey Mohs” to the office, the announcer would say “The Mohs twins.” They are separate human beings, but this little touch robbed them of that dignity, just a bit.
Casual lack of respect can cause others to disengage.
Please, make time to pronounce names correctly. It offers dignity, shows you care, and connects.
Ashleigh’s Input: This topic is particularly dear to me, since the assumed spelling of my name is always “Ashley”. I’m reminded of a time when one Starbucks barista asked me, “How do you spell that?”, before writing my name. That person made me feel like a million bucks – because they cared.