You cannot walk into a modern company, corporation, firm, or plant without finding someone who does not speak English as their first language; which means, at every modern organization, you will find people who speak with an accent. If you are someone who speaks with an accent, this blog is for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind to present with clarity when you have an accent.
Speak as clearly and confidently as you can muster.
People will adjust. Open your mouth wide and speak with good volume and clear enunciation. Some people feel insecure about their accent, yet it is in the act of speaking slowly and with good volume that others will adjust to the way you speak. Remember, everyone has an accent. Everyone speaks English a little differently; remember this and take your time as you learn how other people speak and as you allow others to hear you speak.
Ask and verify.
If you want to align your English with the area in which you live, ask for feedback. Talk in front of people and ask them to write down words you need to work on for your pronunciation. Google the word you want to know how to pronounce along with “Pronunciation”, and the search results will give you audio as well as an animated mouth speaking the word. Use a voice recorder on your phone to listen to how you sound compared to how this online pronunciation guide sounds.
The rules of good presentations apply.
The same delivery skills that help every presenter will help you to deliver a presentation. Speak slowly and enunciate, write keywords and phrases on your slides, use stories, analogies, and other tools to help your audience better understand your message. Set an agenda with expectations and throughout the presentation, refer to these agenda points and expectations so at every point in your presentation people know your current topic.
Breathe and relax.
I have taught and used accents in acting and directing. One of the hardest places to turn off your home accent is when you are feeling emotional. If I need someone to have a Boston accent and they are from Minnesota, as soon as that person needs to yell at their on-stage partner, they start to lengthen their o’s and over-pronounce their r’s. Breathe and relax to calm your nerves and speak clearly.
Be your authentic self.
By implementing these powerful strategies, you will notice more clarity in your spoken presentations. Accents are beautiful, and when it’s part of your authentic self, you will find that it can be an asset rather than a liability. Build clarity for your audience, and your accent will become an appreciated part of your unique style.
We help people present with confidence and clarity. Please contact us if you have questions or comments.