With the world becoming a huge melting pot, we are hearing accents wherever we go and whatever we listen to. This article is not about getting rid of your accent. Accents are part of what makes you, you. I would never advocate trying to eliminate it. The only problem with an accent or even a dialect is when your speech is unintelligible. |
Life is fast today; business moves in great haste; and being understood the 1st time you say it is more important than ever if you expect to succeed professionally and personally. Your goal should be to learn to speak more clearly. Whether it is for an interview, a promotion, or even to meet that someone special in your life, if your words are not being understood than your message is not being heard. And, if that is the case, you might as well not speak!
A woman phoned me recently to tell me that she was not being considered for a promotion because of her heavy accent. I feel badly for anyone who is being overlooked because of their diction, be it someone from South Carolina or someone from South Korea. Speaking distinctly means learning to enunciate your words with more precision. That is the bottom line.
While there are courses you can take in accent reduction, another means of improving your diction is by voice training. The benefits of this kind of training are numerous. Not only will you speak more clearly, but you will also discover a richer, warmer, more mature quality to your voice. In addition, you will have the ability to increase your volume without shouting which is known as projection.
If you speak on the ‘softer’ side of normal, then you will be thrilled by the automatic increase in your volume which will happen because you will be placing your voice differently. Most people power their vocal sound primarily by their mouth and throat cavities. With voice training, you will learn to use your chest cavity as your primary sounding board. This is one of the reasons the quality of your voice will improve. However, because of this change in placement, your volume will increase to what I call volume level 1, the amount of volume most people use at home and at work.
Once you are placing your voice properly, you will also gain control over your speed. If you find that others complain because you are talking too fast, voice training will solve that problem as well.
There are many benefits you will discover with voice training; but, most importantly, others will be able to understand you the 1st time you say it. Keep your accent; just learn to speak more clearly.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. For more information on upcoming workshops, visit Nancy's Voice Training Workshops.
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