Sounds like an odd question I know. Accent reduction. Do you really qualify?
Let me paint you a picture. Does this sound familiar to you?
Some people work hard to pronounce English more clearly. They listen to the native English trainer in my accent reduction training course, or they go to pronunciation classes. They listen and repeat, they master the sounds they need to learn, they work on stress and intonation patterns and they sound much clearer. They successfully manage their accent reduction when they are practising.
And then… They don’t carry it over into everyday situations with friends, at work, with colleagues, or with family. They don’t use their ‘new English accent’ outside, and don’t even remember to try and do this. There are a few reasons this happens, but many people don’t use their new accent reduction skills because they aren’t prepared to sound different.
They aren’t mentally prepared to sound different, and may feel embarrassed, or feel scared of other people’s reactions who are used to hearing them speak with their old accent.
So are you really prepared, and committed to sound different when you speak English?
Whether you want to be clearer, more confident and flowing when you speak, or you want to speak with a full British, American or Australian accent, you need to be prepared to be brave and use your new ‘sound’ in everyday situations.
Don’t forget that unless you are a master mimic and can just put on a new accent straight away, the changes in your accent will be piece by piece. People will get used to your new accent over time. Of course you could be like one of my clients called Queen, who practised using our British accent training course for long periods every day for three months. Then she rang her sister and surprised her sister with her new accent. Her sister didn’t even know it was Queen speaking! (Read Queen’s story here)
Accent reduction is also about you being prepared to be OK with sounding different.
As you get used to sounding different in English, and use it in everyday situations, your friends, family, colleagues and customers will notice you are clearer. They will appreciate that they don’t have to work so hard to understand you. You will feel so much more confident and have more fluent English. If you’re aim is to have a full English accent you could let people know what you are doing, and even enlist their help and support in your progress.
One client who works for a big corporate company, said she felt frustrated because she noticed that when people talk to her, they don’t speak as freely as when they speak to other native English speakers. This happens even though her English comprehension is perfect. After using the Australian accent training course, she has been prepared to ‘sound different’ at work, and has noticed people reacting differently and more positively to her.
One client who had been working on his accent for a couple of months wanted some feedback from me. I told him his English accent was becoming really good, and asked him how he felt about it. Despite the fact that he had wanted to change his accent in English, he said he felt strange and it turned out he hadn’t been using his new accent at work. He was not mentally prepared to sound different when he spoke English!
So let me ask you again. Accent reduction- do you really qualify?
I would be interested to hear your comments on this in the comment section below.
Best wishes, Esther