Do you know about LinkedIn’s Name Pronunciation feature? I love it because it has obvious and stealth benefits.
Create a Global Database of Name Pronunciations
First, think about it, if we all take a moment to use this feature, we’ll create an amazing global database of name pronunciations.
Learn to Pronounce Other People’s Names Correctly
Then, as we get the database populated, we’ll have a quick, easy way to learn how to pronounce the names of people we’re about to meet.
Nothing is more core to our identities than our names.
Thus, people who pronounce them correctly, especially if they’re a little or a lot difficult (like Svei), get some halo effect.
That’s a learning error identified by psychologist Edward Thorndike a hundred years ago. He found we tend to apply a good first impression of a person to all of their abilities and traits, especially when we haven’t experienced them.
So, when a recruiter or a hiring manager glows after you pronounce their name correctly, you’re likely to pick up some helpful halo effect.
Seriously, would you hire the person who got your name right or the one who couldn’t be bothered to learn how to pronounce it?
Help Other People Pronounce Your Name
Similarly, you will start relationships with people in a friendlier way if you help them by sharing how to pronounce your name.
Mitigate Name Discrimination
Also, when job hunting, if your name is outside the dominant culture, this feature can help you mitigate discrimination.
A study performed by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that people with “racial” names get fewer interviews in the U.S.
Studies conducted in Canada and France had similar findings.
While a big portion of that is undoubtedly racism, I know from experience that some recruiters and hiring managers hesitate to talk with potential candidates when they fear being embarrassed by mispronouncing their names.
So, if you have a difficult name, be sure to mitigate or eliminate decision-maker hesitancy by providing an audio recording with its correct pronunciation.
Also, given our diverse world, assume your name is difficult for someone.
Next, this feature provides job seekers and other LinkedIn members personal branding opportunities.
LinkedIn gives you a 10-second audio clip.
I don’t know how long it takes you to pronounce your name, but I would guess it’s less than a second.
That leaves 9 seconds to record a:
- Friendly statement (example)
- Branding statement (example)
- Call to action (example)
- Jobseeker elevator pitch (no example)
- What else?
As you can see, I’m still looking for an elevator pitch example. If you’ve heard a good one, I’d appreciate an email or a link in the comments below.
Beyond the job search, using LinkedIn name pronunciation can help with employee onboarding.
A recent survey from Wisetail, a Bozeman, Montana company that helps organizations empower their people, found 26% of new hires have anxiety about pronouncing their colleagues’ names.
Thus, if you’re welcoming a new team member, ask the people they’ll work with the most to activate name pronunciation on their profiles.
Then, point the new person to LinkedIn with a list of their colleagues’ profile URLs. The new person will learn about their backgrounds and how to pronounce their names.
I’d love to see this become a common courtesy.
(BTW, that 26% number? It’s probably a good proxy for how many recruiters and hiring managers are afraid of pronouncing candidates’ names incorrectly.)
So, if you’ve been thinking your name is easy to pronounce, and thus you don’t need to bother yourself with this feature, please think again.
It’s such a powerful branding and rapport-building opportunity. If you aren’t using it, you’re missing out.
I don’t know about you, but I love listening to the recordings. They’re a fun way to learn a little bit more about someone.
Give people who think they’re just going to view your profile an extra treat, some authentic you!
Step-by-Step Instructions to Add a Recording
Now, if you’re ready to record, I watched several “how-to” videos, so you don’t have to.
Akshay Ahluwalia, a Director at the American Marketing Association, crushes it:
If you prefer written instructions:
- Open your LinkedIn mobile app.
- Click your mini-me photo in the top-left corner.
- Click “View profile.”
- Find the edit pencil to the right of your photo and click it.
- Look below your name entries for “Your audio recording” and an edit pencil.
- Click the pencil.
- Click “Record new pronunciation.”
- Hold the mike and record your 10-second spot.
- Then, click “Tap to preview.”
- If you like it, click “Retake” (confusing, I know) and then click “Replace.”
- If you don’t like it, click “Apply” and start over at step 6.
- Finally, when you have a recording you like, complete step 10 and click Save in the top-right corner.
- Then, make your recording visible to 1st-degree connections or all members. I suggest all members.
It’s actually way easier than the 13 steps make it look. Except for the part where you do 10 or 20 takes to get a recording you like. Or was that just me?
Once you’re done, please share a link to your profile below. Let’s get a nice collection of examples going.
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© 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, and Business News Daily.
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