Everyone speaks with an accent. A person’s accent is an instant look into their background; reflecting both their native language and the region of their childhood. It gives me a warm feeling when I hear people from Minnesota and Wisconsin speak, because it reminds me of the many happy summers I spent in that area of the country. Accents can be a simple difference between people unless it leads to ineffective communication, then it can be a disadvantage to a person’s career or education. You want your audience, whether you’re communicating to a group or one on one, to pay attention and understand your message, not to concentrate on your accent.
Does your English differ from those around you because of a foreign or regional accent? If so, consider these questions.
- Do you find yourself repeating things to be understood?
- Do customers have a hard time understanding you over the phone?
- Have you found yourself avoiding business interactions or social situations because you are concerned about your spoken English?
Ineffective communication ends up creating barriers in both our career world and socially. It can harm collaboration, project timelines, career success, and may lead to increased stress and poor self-esteem.
If you find any of the above happenings regularly, you might be interested in accent modification. This does not mean eliminating your accent or denying your heritage. Accent modification is a way of working with speech patterns to help you be better understood when you communicate.
How Accent Modification Works
At Triad Speech Consultants, we provide accent modification programs for business owners, medical personnel, executives, international college students, and anyone who wants to be able to communicate more effectively with colleagues and customers. Our programs are tailored to fit your specific needs and timeline.
Accent modification works on pronunciation, intonation, voice projection, rhythm, and rate of speech to help you speak in a style that is easier for people to understand. We begin the process with an assessment and learning your goals. In our first training session, you will learn to use strategies that will quickly improve your communication. Over the next sessions, we address discrete skills that apply directly to your speech. We will work on articulation of vowels and consonants, American intonation, rate of speech, voice projection, spoken grammar, small talk, and/or presentation skills. Our sessions will incorporate vocabulary and dialogue relevant to your profession. Clients practice using both an online computer program and individualized recordings that are easily accessible from your phone. Our programs vary in length from 9 to 15 sessions.
One of the things that make accent modification so fascinating is humans’ innate ability to code-switch, which is the ability to alter the way you speak based on your audience. With accent modification, you won’t lose the accent of your family’s culture. Instead, you’ll be able to speak effectively in business or social situations where you need a more neutral English, and then through code-switching, you will still be able to speak English with family and friends using your culture-specific pattern that is familiar and comfortable for them.
Accent modification can be a great help to professionals that are communicating with the public, including business owners, medical providers, corporate professionals, educators, etc. If you feel better communication skills could enhance your career, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with us. During this free consultation, we will discuss your goals and concerns. We will offer you some strategies that you can start using right away to improve your speech. Then we will briefly describe how we can work together so you will meet your speaking goals.