When you want to show your intelligence to someone, go talk to them rather than using writing. Apparently our thoughts are judged as more intelligent when they are conveyed through speaking rather than writing, as shown in a recent series of experiments by University of California at Berkley and the University of Chicago. Video was also effective, so if you're sending your pitch, why not make a short video? You can read more about the findings here.
Many people seeking to improve their American accent are in advanced technical positions. They have expertise in their field, but sometimes find that communication in English is a barrier to success in their career. Whether it is in giving presentations, or communicating on calls and in meetings, they are frustrated by people's inability to understand what they are saying.
Here are some key points to know if you are experiencing difficulty at work due to your accent.
1) Know your audience. When speaking with familiar people, you may find you have no trouble communicating. The people you speak to on a regular basis are used to your accent and the types of technical vocabulary you use. However, when speaking with someone new, especially over the phone or internet, you may need to pay more attention to your speech in order to be understood. Be aware of the types of words you use, and check to make sure your listener is on the same page.
2) Know your issues. This may be a challenge for you, or you may already know which sounds, words, and speaking situations tend to be the most difficult for you. If you are not sure, you can take a free screening or have a full assessment to gain a better understanding of how your individual speech patterns affect your communication in English.
3) Make a commitment to improve. It may seem overwhelming to try to change your accent. But it is likely that if you have been living in North America, your speech has gradually been changing the longer you have been surrounded by American English. You can accelerate and take control of your speech changes by committing to learning your patterns, selecting practice targets and implementing a program for change. You may prefer to do so with direct coaching, or you might like to pursue self-study. To learn more about how to achieve your goals, schedule a free consultation today.
Why Speech Modification is an investment you should make in your employees
Sometimes our most valuable resources are employees who speak with non-standard American English pronunciation. Your employee may have the best knowledge, sales skills, technical expertise or leadership potential, but be hampered by his or her ability to use clear and effective communication. Research shows that listeners are biased against speakers with foreign accents, and are less likely to judge the content of their speech as true and correct.
People who seek to improve their communication skills with accent modification are more likely to be willing to take on challenges, improve overall productivity and address other areas of professional growth. After completing individualized speech modification training, employees are more confident, more effective in all areas of communication, and more culturally competent. Skills gained are maintained over time and generalize to new contexts. Interpersonal communication, telephone skills and client-facing interactions improve due to improved communication and confidence.
An investment for your employees in Speech Modification will benefit all parties involved. Get started today.
If you are concerned that your accent will affect your success in job interviews, you are not alone. Regional accents in British English are sometimes discriminated against, according to a survey of employers. It may be that choice of language including use of regional slang has more of a negative effect than accent, but when looking for employment, you may not know how to make the best choices for your interviews. Having some tools at your disposal, including an understanding of your own accent, and the best choice of vocabulary and expressions for formal situations, is your best defense when approaching an interview situation.
You can read more about this issue in a recent article in the Guardian.
To learn more about slang and American expressions, check out this earlier post.
In a recent study at Charles University in Prague, researchers examined how accents can affect listener perception. Among their findings was the fact that when intonation differs from standard, such as shorter or longer vowels on stressed words, listeners rate speakers as more "nervous-sounding." Even if you are confident during your presentation, interview, or conversation at work, your listeners might think you are nervous based on hearing your accent. Learning to use American intonation, specifically stress patterns and correct vowel length, will help you come across as the knowledgeable and confident speaker you are.
Read an interview with the researcher Jan Volín here.
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