In today’s multicultural world, many people are looking to eliminate their accent and I have a better suggestion. Instead of trying to get rid of your dialect or accent, why not clean it up?
You may believe that your accent is keeping you from getting the job you want or moving ahead in your career. In truth, it is more likely that it is not your accent that is holding you back, but your diction: the only problem with an accent is when others are unable to understand you. The question you must ask of yourself is whether you are being understood. Are your words intelligible? Do others often ask you to repeat yourself?
I have worked with many people who honestly do not recognize that they are not speaking clearly; hence, they are not being understood. You may be well understood by those in your own family or community, but on a larger scale, your dialect or accent may not be clear in a different locale, a different country or on a different continent.
I worked with a gentleman from South Africa who was temporarily living and working in Uganda. While his English was beautiful to hear, his co-workers in Uganda, who also spoke English, had difficulty understanding him. Many people are speaking English, but depending on where you were raised, your English may sound quite different than someone else’s English. And, over the phone, where much of your business may be transacted, your diction may be even more difficult to recognize because there is no visual picture to aid in the process or understanding.
The secret is learning how to control your speed and becoming more aware of how you sound and how you enunciate your words. If you work on those aspects of your speech, it will make a tremendous difference in your ability to be understood.
My clients speak more distinctly irregardless of their mother tongue because they learn how to control their voice, their articulation and their speed. While their voices definitely sound deeper, richer, and resonant, one of the many benefits of good voice training is that their diction becomes cleaner and they speak more distinctly.
Your accent or dialect is part of what makes you, you. It is part of your own individuality, part of that which makes you unique. Instead of trying to get rid of it or eliminate it, why not use it to your advantage?
There have been many famous actors whose accent only further enhanced their careers including Marlene Dietrich, Ricardo Montalban, Desi Arnaz, Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and Omar Shariff. In each of these cases, their accents added to their charm, to their attractiveness, to their abilities. In each of these cases, however, their diction was clear.
Remember, your accent is not holding you back – what is holding you back is your ability to be understood. Speak more distinctly and I guarantee your life will move forward in a much more positive direction!
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. Visit Voice Dynamic and watch Nancy as she describes Your Least Developed Tool!