More advice for making small talk~Keep an open conversation

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, making small talk can be a challenge for non native speakers. My clients often tell me that they want to “fit in” and they know that making small talk will help them to do that. They’re just not sure how to do this. One tip that I tell my

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Intonation Matters! This story shows you why…

If you don’t believe that intonation matters, this story shows you why. I came across a fascinating story on NPR yesterday that I want to share with you. The story, Sometimes Getting Along Comes Down To How You Say “Gravy”, is about a communication breakdown that happened at the Heathrow Airport cafeteria in London. The

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Toastmasters & Accent Reduction

Over the weekend, three people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching program asked me about Toastmasters. If you’re not aware of Toastmasters, it’s an international organization for helping anyone improve their public speaking. Toastmasters has clubs all over the world. There’s probably several clubs in the city where you live right now.

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Wanna sound more natural in American English?

The people who I work with in my accent reduction coaching program want their American English to sound as natural as possible. One key strategy that I teach them is how to reduce the sound of little, less important words. Little words such as: and, or, of, to, as & for are almost always reduced.

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What’s the Difference Between Four & For?

One of the most frequent questions I get from my accent reduction coaching clients is how to pronounce the words four & for. Sometimes we say these words with the same pronunciation. But…. most of the time we say the preposition for with a reduced schwa vowel sound * /fɚ/. We say the number four

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Friendly Tone & the Full Stop

In written English a period is often called a “full stop”. ☝ It means stop. ☛ It’s final. ➙ It’s solid. It’s like a stop sign, Go to the corner and stop! Not so in spoken American English. When we speak, that period at the end of a sentence, that “full stop” means to RIZE’n

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What do you learn in an accent reduction coaching program?

Every week people contact me about accent reduction coaching. While some people know what to expect…they’ve had executive coaching already…..others don’t. So, in this post I want to answer the question, What do you learn in an accent reduction coaching program? All programs are a bit different. Some focus on the articulation of vowel &

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Accent Reduction Software~Does it Help?

This week several people have written to ask me if using accent reduction software is a good way to reduce their accents. Well……in my Skype accent reduction coaching program I do use the University of Iowa software to help my clients see the articulation of the American English vowel & consonant sounds….. This is an

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Shakira’s American Accent

After meeting with me for an Accent Assessment, one of my accent reduction coaching clients asked me if I’d do a mini analysis of Shakira’s American accent. Since I wasn’t very familiar with Shakira’s accent, I went to YouTube and found a short clip with Shakira and Ryan Seacrest. Here’s my mini analysis~ 1. Shakira

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How Non Native Speakers Can Master Public Speaking

In my never-ending research on effective communication for non native speakers, I came across an article about Vikas Jhingran. Vikas Jhingran, an engineer at Shell Oil, is the 2007 winner of the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. He is also the author of a book titled, Emote: Using Emotions to Make Your Message Memorable.

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