Offerings

What’s in a Name?

Using speech science to foster inclusivity: A workshop to help you become a better listener, hear and pronounce unfamiliar names, and show your colleagues that they matter.

For 15 years in the same department, Subankanee Namasivayam’s colleagues fumbled over her name. Every time she was introduced to new clients or new colleagues, they either mispronounced her name or avoided it completely. One colleague would joke about it every single time he introduced her. For 15 years, she felt belittled, even invisible. Her colleagues laughed it off. They avoided calling on her in meetings for fear of mispronouncing her name. It’s a lot of syllables. It takes a bit of effort. Subankanee ended up leaving the department, having always felt undervalued and dismissed. These daily microaggressions take their toll. 

In this workshop, we will dissect the features of speech sounds. It may seem like a strange way to address racism in the workplace, but names carry a lot of weight in a person’s identity. When they are mispronounced or dismissed completely, the results are profound. An inattention to a name can compound onto other experiences to create a feeling of not belonging. Similarly, when someone hears their “difficult” name attempted with genuine care, the results can be even more profound, but in a positive way. 

 The workshop provides an introduction to speech science you never knew you needed. If you’ve never taken a phonetics class, be prepared to hear the world in a whole new way.

Participants will come away with a knowledge of precisely how speech sounds are produced. This will better prepare them to hear and pronounce new words and names that are unfamiliar to them. This opens the door to attempting new names without feeling self conscious about getting it wrong. Then, they can more easily call on their colleagues who aren’t named Jennifer, Matt and Michael.

Knowledge of how sounds are produced also helps participants become better listeners, more able to decipher English in all its forms. 

Participants will be able to take a name like Subankanee Namasivayam and have it flowing off their tongues in no time. So the Subankanees in your workplace can participate fully. Everyone wins.

It’s three hours that will open your ears to more precisely hear sounds from any language, and offer some techniques for change that you never knew you were capable of achieving.

Interested in booking this workshop for you and your colleagues? Get in touch!

This workshop is offered featuring the fabulous: Sarra Ismail!

Sarra is a Learning & Development professional with over 15 years experience working in multicultural workspaces. Growing up in 3 different countries, she was often made to feel out of place. She learned to analyze situations more deeply and leverage this into her biggest asset: effective communication. As a Black, Muslim, immigrant woman, Sarra knows all about feeling “othered”. She has used her experience and insight to support and coach clients, colleagues, friends, and family on ways to hack communication obstacles that immigrants can face in the workplace. Sarra is passionate about creating and fostering safe spaces at work and elsewhere for those with less privilege.