Names Are Very Important!

One of the powerful moments from Dr. Damien Sweeney’s 2024 Trainer’s Institute session was when he modeled how to ask someone if he had pronounced their name correctly: “Names are very important,” he said, “If I pronounced your name wrong, please come off mute and correct me.”

Saying your learners’ names correctly is an integral way to support belonging and psychological safety, which ultimately leads to increased learning. It can also be intimidating to pronounce unfamiliar names. Below are some tips from the Harvard Business Review for how to make sure you are pronouncing names correctly:


Ask the learner, and actively listen.


Don’t make a big deal over the name being unusual.


Apologize if you have mispronounced their name and ask them to repeat it.

These steps can go a long way in fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment!

You could also consider modeling a name pronunciation tool in your email communication. Name Coach is a great tool that lets you provide phonetic pronunciation, and an audio recording of how to say your name in your email signature. See an example here and sign up for your own!