So you are tired of having to repeat yourself over and over again. You are tired of people looking at you strangely when you order a coffee. You are tired of being rejected for job offers because people are having difficulties understanding you. How do you work on accent reduction so that you are understood?I understand your pain; I was there once before. I got so sick of repeating myself and feeling small because people could not understand me. I was tired of not being heard. Is that you?
These are the tips I used for myself, before I fully embarked on my own accent reduction. Find out below what is the ACCENT Reduction method.
A: Acknowledge that there is a communication breakdown between BOTH listeners and speakers. Often, I used to think its only my fault that I could not be understood. I could not be any more wrong. Listen to this TedTalk, and you will understand why it is important for both listener and speaker to try to be understood.
C: Communicate clearly. And this can also mean, slowing down your speech rate. The most effective manner you can undertake in accent reduction is by reducing your speech rate.
C : Chunk your information into smaller units. Take appropriate breaks when talking. Do not speak with a ‘comma’ in every idea of your speech. Ensure you stop for a pause regularly to catch your breath too.
E: Emphasis on certain sounds, or words if someone does not understand them. You can emphasis by speaking the words LOUDER or even spelling it out for them. Often when we are not understood, we tend to speak in softer tones, so that we do not have to repeat. Please refrain from that, and speak up, so that you can be heard
N : Never lose that confidence you have in your speaking. This is easier said than done. However, this is very very important to remember. All of us tend to shy away or hide when we sound different. Never hide, as hiding your head in the sand makes it even more difficult to be understood.
T : Talk using intonation. This is often the hardest area to embark on. You need to start listening to how others speak and try to copy their intonation. It’s like saying t-oh-mato or to-mah-to. As simple as that!
Have you used other techniques to get you started on your accent reduction journey? Share your ideas, I would love to read them!