It is common courtesy to spell out or pronounce the name of a colleague correctly. However, many people with non-generic or non-western names face a problem of their name not being registered in the right way in other people's minds.

This results in a less inclusive workplace, both physical or virtual, for people who are from diverse backgrounds.


If You Don’t Know How to Say Someone’s Name, Just Ask

  • Having a non-white name that is hard to pronounce or remember can negatively impact our chances of employment in many western countries, and the screening starts at the resume itself.
  • Mispronunciation of a name also results in an ‘internal cringe’ when it is heard by the namesake, resulting in needless doubt and uncertainty professionally.
  • Even kids with names being mispronounced get affected emotionally, and score lower than others.


  1. Ask the person to pronounce it and listen attentively.
  2. Don’t make it obvious that the name is unheard of, unpronounceable, or awkward to pronounce.
  3. Observe how the name is pronounced, clarify it again and practice it a few times.
  4. If the name has been mispronounced by you, apologize and make amends.
  5. Correct it for others who are also pronouncing it wrong, even if the namesake person isn’t around.
  6. Don’t ask if the person can be called by any other name, as it shows arrogance.


  1. Create a phonetic recalling word or object that is memorable, associating it with the name so that the correct pronunciation is easily verbalized (like Ruchika is pronounced ‘roo-chee-ka’, as your ‘cheek’)
  2. Interrupt and correct people, giving your name the importance it deserves.


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