Recently I've noticed some resistance on the part of clients in committing to Accent Reduction training. I think that resistance relates to general resistance to change—especially if you think a person or society is trying to change you. I think people like their accents; and rightfully so; it defines them, it’s a part of their identities, and they may feel unnatural or inauthentic without it. And deep down there is reluctance to make this change.
I heard this recently in a prospective client who was asking about my expected results; she had tried other systems and they didn't work….I began to suspect that even if she put in the work with my system it would not work if she could not get past her reservations.
I heard it with another client with a German accent, whose husband worried that she might not be as cute without her accent.
And other client, from Greece, who talked fondly about her mother teaching her carefully how to properly roll her R’s, and now she was being taught not to do that!
- First of all, Accent Reduction is not the same as accent elimination (to totally get rid of a certain accent, even a regional U.S. accent, would take years of dedicated practice for most people). You will still be you; we enjoy the diversity of tongues in this country, is just that your colleagues need to understand what you are saying—the first time you say it.
Time is money, after all, and time is lost when you have to repeat yourself too much.
- Secondly, English is not better or more superior to your language of origin. Assimilation to the U.S. may occur at varied levels for different people, but certain customs and traditions will stay with you; you may like to speak your own language at home and pass it on to your children and grandchildren. But, English is the international language and the language of business in the U.S. Accent Reduction helps you be understood more easily.
- And, you can get so good at this practice, that you can begin to choose when to turn it on and when to turn if off. You can get good enough that you feel more and more natural with proper English pronunciation of the sounds that you've learned. Authenticity is always at the heart of this practice.
Change is hard. But, with work, you can learn to reduce the difference between your English and that of a Native Speaker, so you can be understood more easily, you can clearly state your thoughts, and you will gain confidence speaking up and being heard in business settings.