With a last name like Bjorseth (B-or-seth), you might correctly guess that it has been mispronounced a few times! In fact, only people from areas with a strong Norwegian influence get it correct by just looking at it or hearing it. Frequent attempts include Bah-jor-seth, Bah-jor-sett, Jor-seth, Jor-sett and, then, those that leave even me guessing.
As someone who has walked in those shoes, here’s my advice:
• Make the other person’s comfort level first and foremost. If asked how to pronounce it, I will do so usually only once. If the person still mispronounces it, I smile and move on. I don’t correct anyone who introduces me at speaking or training engagements unless asked for help by the introducer.
• Be sure to say your name slowly and clearly when you meet someone whether it is the first time, second or third. Keep in mind the person may not remember having met you and certainly not how to pronounce an unusual name.
• Say your name whenever new people join a conversation. Do it as quickly as is graciously feasible to take the onus off other people in the group.
• When someone is to introduce you at a speaking engagement or meeting, break it down on paper phonetically like I did in the first sentence. That usually helps although not always, and why not baffles me.
• Learn to live with it. Before TV and radio interviews, I am asked to repeat my name several times … yet right out of the chute it is mispronounced. I am their guest as if they had invited me into their home, and I won’t correct them unless they joke about it and ask for help.