Do Not Fear Accent Reduction Training.

English Pronunciation

Accent reduction.  

Accent modification.  

English pronunciation training.  

It goes by many names, but what we are talking about is how to make your communication in English more intelligible.  Clear communication is crucial for success in business.  So many of my clients come to me for training because they feel their accent is preventing them from moving up the corporate ladder.  They are ready to make the leap because they recognize how valuable such training can be for moving them forward in their career.

But how many people out there are afraid to take action because they don’t know what to expect? They are afraid of the unknown.  My guess is there are loads of you!

Here are a few of the concerns I have heard over the years.

FEAR:  It’s so overwhelming.  How can I learn all of that material?

There are only 44 sounds or “phonemes” in the English language (and some scholars may argue that there are actually fewer than that).  That’s it.  Knowing what these sounds are is like knowing where the forks go…you don’t have to search around looking for them.  You know exactly where to put them.  Pronunciation training teaches you exactly where you need to put your tongue, your lips, and your jaw to make all of these sounds.  You don’t have to guess or approximate based on what you think you should be doing.  You will have a coach who can teach you and make adjustments as you go.

FEAR:  What if I can’t learn it all before I finish my sessions?

You’re not cramming for a test.  This is an ongoing process, and you will continue to improve and refine your sound even after you complete your training sessions.  Any good teacher is helping you to become your own coach so that you can continue to grow.  Building your awareness so you can self-monitor is crucial.

FEAR:  What if I go through the training and I still make mistakes?

Not even native speakers are 100% accurate 100% of the time.  Take some pressure off of yourself.  You will not ever be perfect in your pronunciation.  But the good thing is, no one else is either!  Pronunciation training helps you become more aware of your habits and how to make adjustments so that the way you speak is not a distraction.

FEAR:  What if I don’t sound like myself anymore?

You will not lose your identity as you work on this.  You are learning the difference between what you do now and what is a more standard sound.  Think of it as learning a new accent rather than getting rid of the one you have now.  You are learning options.

FEAR:  How do I know if I’m doing it right?

You have a partner to help you!  Working on pronunciation training alone is daunting.  If you work with a coach, you have someone on your side, helping you become aware of the habits you have now and guiding you through the process of using your speech muscles in new ways.  With a coach, there is always someone there to answer your questions and provide you with constructive feedback.

FEAR:  What if I don’t improve?

You must practice to improve.  If you dedicate time each day to practice, how could you not improve?  On the other hand, if you just attend your sessions and do not practice in between, you will not improve.  If you were learning to play the piano and you just went to lessons but never practiced at home, do you think you would ever get better?  Of course not.  Learning any new skill requires practice.  If you make time to practice, you will get better.  But be honest with yourself.  Do not start any program for pronunciation training if you have too much going on at work or at home.  It will not be productive and you will be frustrated.  Wait until you can build time into your schedule to focus on the homework. 

If any of these fears has stopped you from pursuing pronunciation training in the past, please reach out to me so we can have a conversation about how the benefits of this training outweigh any of your concerns.  I want to help you feel confident in how you sound so that you can climb that corporate ladder and never look back.

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