Accent Reduction: 9 Ways to Communicate your Gifts with an Accent
Communication Barriers: Expressing your Gifts
“I know my game very well. It’s a gift. The point is to use it.” -Roger Federer, US Open Champion
What does communication have to do with expressing your gifts? Roger Federer, famous tennis player, and US Open Tennis Champion with 17 Grand Slam titles, spoke on one of my favorite interview shows. He advocated for people to use their gifts. For many of us, the ability to share and express our gifts is dependent on verbal communication. Roger Federer doesn’t need to speak on the court to win tennis matches. However, he speaks during interviews. By speaking publicly, he creates connections with individuals that make up the general public. He inspires people. Although he speaks with an accent, he is relatively easy to understand. There are just a few speech sounds that are distracting to the native English listener’s ears.
There are many times that fluent speakers of English as a second or other language experience communication barriers because of their foreign accents. Speaking to others creates personal connections. It develops relationships. Accents can interfere with the ability to develop relationships. This happens when the communication partners are so focused on trying to make sense of the words that the accented partners are pronouncing, that they can’t relax into the conversation. The result is that the relationship takes a longer than usual amount of time to develop. The communication isn’t EFFICIENT.
American English Accent: 9 Ways to Communicate your Gifts
- Pay attention to whether people are showing signs that they don’t understand you. Do they ask you to repeat yourself?
- Ask people if they are understanding you clearly. This will show that you are aware of the potential barriers of your accent.
- Put humor into your accent. You’ll “lighten up” more often and learning will be easier.
- Find your “challenge” areas. Become aware of the English sounds and rule patterns that are difficult.
- Practice accurate pronunciation of consonants, vowels, and diphthongs. Work with your accent specialist.
- Practice linking sounds and words together. Your speech will sound more interesting.
- Practice accurate syllable stress. When you are able to pronounce the sounds and put stress on the accurate syllables in longer words, you’ll sound more natural.
- Practice sound rule patterns. Learn the rules that can be applied to specific scenarios in American speech.
- Celebrate your successes. Recognize your efforts and instances of when your work improves your communication.
When you become more proficient with your knowledge of the American English sound system, and then implement what you know, you’ll be able to develop relationships faster. Your communiation partners will be able to focus on YOU, not on the WAY YOU’RE SPEAKING. Both of y ou will have more energy to build and strengthen your relationship.
Here’s to you communicating YOUR gifts!