I notice on my social media accounts that occasionally people become offended when they hear the words, “Accent Reduction” or “Obtain an American Accent.” I get that. People are everywhere calling it bias.
When my clients want a proposal for their firms they ask me not to call it Accent Reduction because it’s seen as discrimination. So let’s put it this way. Folks are learning English as a second language, and we deny them the right to speak clearly and persuasively? What kind of sense does that make?
If an accent makes it so people cannot understand your message, you have trouble getting ahead in your career. Everyone needs to learn to be a better communicator even in their native languages.
There’s no need to shame folks who want to become better speakers.
Accent reduction is what we call speaking clearly.
Every amazing communicator you know has worked on their speech. So let’s not deny people the right to get better. You can go from being 60% intelligible to being crystal clear and people following your call to action. And there’s no reason you shouldn’t.
When an American learns a foreign language and speaks it with an American accent that’s not considered cool.
Imagine if a high schooler demonstrates promise in a sport. Would you refuse to get him a coach or training to help him develop his skills? Honestly, is there a single other skill that people would tell you not to improve?
If an accent is hindering your ability to get ahead in your career, then by all means work to make yourself more clear and influential.
An Introduction to Accent Reduction
This brief introduction will get you started on the road to speaking Standard American English.
Speak with an American Accent in all Environments of Your Life.
What “accent reduction” means to me is helping people be crystal clear when they speak.
Helping to make people’s lives easier when they’re busy translating their thoughts into English. Because you can have an easy time communicating in your second & third languages. It doesn’t have to be difficult.
I just use “Accent reduction” & “American Accent” as keywords for my hashtags and titles because those are the words many people are typing in when they’re looking to speak in a crystal clear fashion. Or so I think! Let me know what you’re typing in & hook a mother up!
I must tell you that communicating in a crystal clear fashion is the ONLY way (legally & morally) to get people to do what you tell them to do. You greatly reduce your odds of people doing what you need them to do when they are having a hard time processing your message.
Why Speak with an American Accent?
Accented speech in running conversation (or when giving a presentation) can be difficult for people to process. Alas, difficult for them to follow your call-to-action. What is your call to action? It’s to get people to believe you & believe in you. It’s to get people to see how smart & funny you are. To buy your widget or to hang out with you. To agree with you. Plus my clients are tired of people saying, “where are you from?” right after they say something genius.
When you’re done with your awesome accent reduction program you don’t sound like everybody else. You sound like yourself. Crystal clear, concise & highly persuasive. You deserve it.
No One Was Born with Perfect Communication Skills
Bootstrap or hire a coach. But definitely get there!
Don’t be afraid to hire a speaker coach. You spent perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars on college and grad school; you spend hundreds monthly on music lessons, gym memberships, personal training, classes, food and drinks, nights out with friends. Still, you won’t spend money on the one thing that will make you more money? Your ability to get your message across? Your ability to convince others to hire or promote you?
If you’re successfully bootstrapping it, I applaud you and I write these blogs for you. But if you are having a hard time doing it all yourself, know that you’re in the majority. Most people have a hard time doing all of this themselves.
For one thing, it’s hard to assess specifically what you’re doing wrong. And you can’t count on your friends to know either. They have no idea about resonance and intonation!
So if you’re not successful at improving your speaking skills yourself, It just means you need help. And we’re here for you! We have courses for just about any budget. Let us know what your needs are!