Recently, accent modification made headlines when an employee in Oak Ridge National Labs in Tennessee requested the company provide a class to help employees modify their Southern accent. The lab’s employees represent over 90 countries, and accent modification classes are regularly offered to those who don’t speak English as a native language. The Southern accent modification class was added to the list of optional classes in which employees could enroll. Although the class was voluntary, many employees took offense to the idea that their accents needed to be changed, and the class was eventually cancelled following employee backlash.
As a company which provides accent modification both for non-native English speakers and those who wish to modify their regional accent, Corporate Speech Solutions wanted to weigh in on the discussion. First, let’s talk about what accent-modification or accent-reduction training is not. Accent reduction training is not designed to eliminate your accent. For many people, their accent is an important part of their identity. Modifying your accent so that you sound exactly like a native English speaker or as though you come from a different region is not necessary for professional success. However, clear, dynamic, articulate speech is a key component to improved communication. A particularly heavy accent can make speech difficult to understand and create communication gaps which detract from your message. We often hear from our clients that their confidence is affected as they are frequently asked to repeat what they said or that they feel their listener is confused. This is often true for regional accents for those who speak English as their native language as well; even native English speakers may be faced with professional challenges if they are not clear and articulate when they are speaking. An accent-modification training program is designed to give you the skills to communicate in a clear and confident manner.
Having an accent in and of itself is most 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, accent modification can be extremely useful if a particularly strong accent is impacting the clarity of your communication and your ability to relay your thoughts and ideas in a professional setting. Increased clarity will not only affect your confidence, but your career as well.
Do your professional communication skills need improvement? Let us help you make your speech and communication your most powerful professional tool! 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.
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