If there’s something that anyone could say to make your ears perk up with delight (other than the words “free ice cream”), it would be your name.
Now that doesn’t mean you have to mention their name in every sentence. That can be tricky particularly if the conversation takes longer than an hour. But it does help to mention their name about 2-3 times per conversation (on average).
So, even if you don’t know a person, their likes, dislikes, their language or even know which planet they’re from, you could win their hearts and win the day just by “knowing their name”. That’s why Muhammad Ali used to repeat the question “what’s my name?”, every time he beat the crap out opponents who called him Cassius Clay (which by the way was his previous name). Sure, Cassius Clay is a great name too. But it just wasn’t his name…anymore.
Now, if you make the effort into pronouncing the name right (however baffling it sounds) you score yourself a whole lot of bonus points (and even end up getting half of their inheritance). So yes, the pronunciation does make a difference. Otherwise an “orange” could end up sounding like an “orangutan”. It may just be a “slight difference” in sound (to someone who doesn’t know the language), but it makes a huge difference in meaning to the recipient. That’s why in Star Trek, the Captain and his/her Senior Officers took hours (or even days) to familiarize themselves with “cultural differences” and pronunciations of words and names before a “first encounter” with an Alien species. Otherwise they could’ve gotten their heads blown on the pilot episode itself.
So, take a while to “accustom” yourself with the pronunciation. Then when you meet them for the first time, ask them if you pronounced it right. And try pronouncing it with them a few times until you get it right. That’s not to say that you should go back and forth with the pronunciation part for the remainder of the day. But just making the effort will make you memorable in their hearts…possibly for life since most people don’t even bother.
Now, if saying their name totally cracks you up, it might be worth going to the bathroom and getting all those giggles out of your system first. That will prevent you from dropping on the floor and rolling around with laughter.