A strong and incomprehensible accent can be a major obstacle in business or professional life. Let’s face it, getting knocked back for a plum contract because of your accent, really sucks!
1 Be Memorable for the Right Reasons
Being a trainer and having run the accent reduction course for over fifteen years, I prefer positive statements. So what I’m about to say goes slightly against the grain. You don’t want to be remembered as the person no one could understand or who had to be asked to repeat things or to had to be encouraged to speak more slowly. None of these things help build relationships with other people.
Instead you want to be memorable for all the right reasons. Make your accent, charming, exotic, interesting, attractive, perhaps even sexy, these are the things that will help people remember you and draw people to you.
Being authentically you means being proud about who you are and where you come from rather than trying to cover it up.
2 Sound Professional
Learning to reduce your accent to something closer to an educated, or neutral accent will help you sound more professional. People who sound like country bumpkins don’t usually get top jobs. Sadly employers are much like the rest of us; they tend to judge a book by its cover and not bother to dig any further.
In a world where a half a percentage point can make a massive difference, it’s important that the image you want to project to others matches your reality, and that includes the way you sound.
You could think of it as vocal branding.
3 Clearer Communication means Greater Confidence
Having to communicating in a language that isn’t your mother tongue is draining. I speak French fairly well, but I find that after a day of speaking in French, my vocal cords feel strained and I start making silly mistakes. This is a common experience for people speaking second or third languages. This is particularly true for languages acquired after you start school.
One of the saddest things I see in my work as a voice and accent coach is the damage a strong accent can do to someone’s self-esteem. It might not sound that bad but constantly struggling to understand and be understood gradually erodes your sense of worth, sense of competence and sense of belonging. It impacts every part of your wellbeing. It is isolating. After a while people give up feeling defeated.
You don’t have to acquire perfect Australian English, or speak with Received Pronunciation, or neutralise your accent to the point where no one can tell where you come from any more. Learning to reduce your strong accent is a lot more achievable and will build your confidence.
4 Greater Confidence means Better Business
That’s a neat segue to talk about what confidence will do for your business and employment prospects. Put simply greater confidence equals better business and more opportunities.
Working on any personal development will give you a greater sense of self-esteem and consequently greater confidence.
The key is to make your PD objectives SMART –
For example some programs promise unrealistic outcomes like completely neutralising or eliminating your accent. If you are over thirty, a much more realistic goal is to reduce the accent so that you are easier to understand. This after all is the crux of the matter, being understood.
5 Being a Global Citizen
We’re now well into the twenty-first century. Huge advances in communications technology mean that we can not only talk to someone on the other side of the world in real time but see them sitting in their lounge room as well. We can work from our home in Melbourne for a corporation in Shanghai, Singapore or San Francisco or all three.
The Clearly Talking Accent Reduction Course will give you transferrable skills which will help you communicate in English with anyone anywhere in the world.
Where to Next?
Consider signing up for one of our accent reduction courses. We offer an introductory program, Seven Secrets for Reducing Strong Accents and an advance program, Clearly Confident Communication. They are available as personal coaching programs, in groups and will shortly online. Please visit Accent Reduction Programs. You can also visit our articles resource page here: Accent Reduction Articles Page
For details about other Clearly Talking programs please visit Clearly Talking Website.
Clearly Talking / Accent Reduction Program
Melbourne, Australia, March 2023