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How Does Your Accent Impact Professional Perception?

14-1According to a recent United Nations report, nearly one out of every 33 people work in a nation other than the country they were born in. With increasing globalization and the resulting multicultural and multilingual work environments, the number of non-native English speaking professionals in the United States is on the rise. However, despite the increasing number of non-native English speakers in the workplace, there is still often a bias against people who speak with a strong non-native accent in a professional environment. 

A paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology this past November reported on two experiments which suggested that when all other factors were equal, individuals with non-native English accents were significantly less likely to be recommended for management positions and less likely to receive new-venture funding. The paper, entitled Political skill: Explaining the Effects of Nonnative Accent on Managerial Hiring and Entrepreneurial Investment Decisions, provided some food for thought in how a non-native accent may affect professional perception.

Having an accent in and of itself is certainly not a negative quality. Many people feel that their accent is a vital part of their self-image, reflecting their heritage and culture, and have no desire to eliminate it. However, in some cases, a particularly strong accent can not only affect how one is perceived, but more importantly, may impact the clarity of communication.

For those who feel their accent is getting in the way of their professional progress, accent-modification training may help. Accent-modification isn’t designed to eliminate an accent or hide the fact that you are a non-native English speaker. Rather, it helps to modify problem sounds within an accent that may be impacting the clarity of your speech and making communication difficult. Training is typically done by a speech-language pathologist who can provide feedback on individual communication patterns and provide strategies to modify problem-sounds. The reason many programs do not succeed is simply due to lack of practice. The key to success in any speech-training program is the practice. We recommend daily practice in order to achieve your goals and we provide unique tips and techniques to ensure the necessary practice.


Think accent modification training may be for you? Give us a call! For information on the New York Based Speech and Accent Reduction services offered by Corporate Speech Solutions please give us a call at 212-308-7725 or visit us on the web at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com. Not in NYC? No problem! We also provide Skype and video conferencing services.

© 2013, Corporate Speech Solutions of New York City and Long Island – All Rights Reserved

Source: Political skill: Explaining the effects of nonnative accent on managerial hiring and entrepreneurial investment decisions.

Huang, Laura; Frideger, Marcia; Pearce, Jone L.

Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 98(6), Nov 2013, 1005-1017