Here’s why I recommend learning the alphabet that pilots use all the time.

How many times have we misunderstood someone over the phone? The similarities in sound between “M” and “N” or “P” and “T” or any other notorious pair in the alphabet may seem harmless, but when communicating important information like addresses they can create a great deal of confusion. If you’re trying to send an email with critical attachments but you misheard someone and made an error somewhere in the characters before the “@”, your message will never arrive. 

I’m a pilot, and pilots are required to know the phonetic alphabet because it’s used in radio communications when you’re flying and talking with other planes, control towers, or traffic centers. Why not strengthen your communication skills this year by challenging yourself to memorize it as well? The phonetic alphabet is not difficult to learn, but it sure is helpful; it can be a powerful hedge against tragic miscommunication. 

“Learning this handy alphabet can be as fun as you make it!”

At 2:18 in the video above, you can see a chart of the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. I invite you to explore the internet for different formats that suit your taste—some charts even include morse code, too! Practice spelling words out loud using the phonetic alphabet, or quiz your spouse, family, or friends. Be careful not to be a showoff, though; no one likes an ostentatious display… or in other words, an “Oscar Sierra Tango Echo November Tango Alpha Tango India Oscar Uniform Sierra” display. 

Learning this handy alphabet can be as fun as you make it! Check out this neat online puzzle games to help you memorize it. For the most part, numbers are pronounced the same, but there are some interesting exceptions. For example, do you know why “nine” is always pronounced as “niner?” Well, if you were flying over German airspace and tried to communicate “nine,” it could easily be mistaken for “nein,” the German word for “no.” 

For more information on learning and practicing this, check out these resources: Alphabet Chart Phonetic Alphabet Quiz

I hope you found this insightful and are feeling a little more inspired to sharpen your communication skills this year! As always, reach out to me via phone or email if you have any questions about buying, selling, or investing in real estate. I’d also be happy to chat with you about where our market is headed. I look forward to hearing from you, but until then, stay “Sierra Alpha Foxtrot Echo.”