Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Making the Extra Effort

I read an interesting article this past weekend about how President Obama puts a lot of effort into pronouncing people's names (and countries) correctly.

Article on President Obama and Pronunciation

He considers it a sign of respect. President Obama is right. When we make the extra effort to 'speak someone else's language' we indicate a level of concern and respect that is subtle, but powerful.

When we take the time to know someone else, even something as simple as how to pronounce their name, we communicate to them that we care. They matter. They are important. If we carelessly refer to them, we indicate that they aren't worth our time.

Simple... yet so powerful!

I saw a commercial on CNN one time, where one of my heroes, Christiane Amanpour was talking about one of her 'bugaboos' which is how people refer to Iran and Iraq.

We, in the states, tent to say Eye-Rak and Eye-ran. This is not correct.

The way to correctly prounounce these countries has two components. On the first syllable it is correct to say "EEEEE" (as in bee, or see).

On the second syllable, we the 'a' in Iraq or Iran is pronounced like the o in 'rock' or 'Ron'

So, the lesson for today is, to pronounce:

Iraq = EE-rock

Iran = EE-ron

When we make a little extra effort, we show people that we respect them and care about them. Simple things like pronouncing people's name's (or country's) correctly... shows them that they are relevant and that they matter!

Go the extra mile!