Accent Reduction Training with a Coach

Accent Reduction Training with a Coach 

Why don't people understand me?

Why don’t people understand me?

Do you wonder why your American colleagues and friends don’t always understand you when you speak English?

Do you find that people continually ask you to repeat what you said?

Do people seem to “give up” on talking to you after a few minutes?

Time to stop struggling on your own!

It’s time to stop struggling on your own! Find out why your foreign accent is creating problems for you by contacting an accent reduction coach.

How working with an accent reduction coach will help you

Here are 4 reasons why working with an accent reduction coach is the most effective way to reduce your foreign accent:

  1. When you work with a coach, you’ll understand exactly why Americans don’t  always understand you.
  2. When you work with a coach, you’ll learn specific techniques you can use to make noticeable changes.
  3. When you work with a coach, you’ll get the personal feedback you need in order to speak with clarity.
  4. When you work with a coach, you’ll receive customized lessons* focusing on the way you communicate.

Research says that communication skills are more important

According to research conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, 93 percent of business and nonprofit leaders surveyed consider critical thinking and communication skills to be more important than a person’s undergraduate major when it comes to hiring.

Obviously, clear communication is a skill you need to have.

Career success 

Motivated professionals frequently choose to work with an accent reduction coach because they understand that clear and engaging communication will allow them to

  • be more employable
  • articulate their ideas
  • connect with others
  • make a difference in the workplace

They understand that clear American English is critical if they want to experience unlimited success in their careers.

Fast, cheap & easy

Kicking your American English communication skills up to the next level, (or up a few levels as many of my clients do), is not fast, cheap or easy.

As my business mentor, Seth Godin says~

Seth Godin

Seth Godin

Fast, easy, guaranteed**

…pick none.

That’s the work that’s worth doing.

Improving the way you communicate takes time. It’s an investment in your future success. It’s absolutely the work worth doing.

Invest in yourself

I won’t tell you that my programs are fast, cheap and easy. I won’t tell you that “your accent will go away”. I trust that you know better than to believe that.

But I do guarantee ** that my customized coaching program will enable you to speak American English in a way that Americans will understand.

I will work with you until you get it. I’m fully invested in your communication success. If you are.

Susan Ryan~Accent reduction coach

If you’re an international professional who’s committed to improving your personal communication skills, working with an accent reduction coach is the most effective strategy to get where you want to be.

I specialize in helping people working in technology, research, teaching and finance communicate in a way that Americans find clear, professional and engaging.

To learn more about me and my accent reduction coaching programs, click About at the top of this page.

* Not all accent coaches provide customized lessons and master lists. Be sure to ask about this when choosing a coach.

** Read the fine print on guarantees whenever you chose a program

How to sound more likable

How to sound more likable

How to sound more likable

How to sound more likable

My accent reduction coaching clients often tell me,

Susan, I’d like to speak in a way that sounds more friendly and likable to Americans.

We all want to be liked. That’s really important. And when it comes to the workplace, research has found that likable people get more attention, perks and promotions.

So how can you sound more likable?

One strategy for cultivating your likability is to find common ground with the people you work or do business with.

As you begin a conversation, find something that you have in common with your clients and colleagues.  This could be:

  • kids
  • sports & fitness
  • food
  • travel

Initiate some small talk around one of these topics to establish an easy rapport with the person you’re dealing with. You can “get down to business” after you’re warmed up.

Jimmy Fallon & likability

Click here to read how Jimmy Fallon cultivates his likability by consistently finding common ground with his diverse array of guests on Late Night.

Listening & likability

Another likability strategy that almost always works is LISTENING. And I mean really listening to the people you work with.

You’ve heard it over and over, from people including Dale Carnegie and Tony Robbins.

Listening carefully to others one of the most effective strategies for meaningful communication.

Speak using a friendly intonation style

Finally, if you want your voice to sound friendly and engaging, be sure to speak using the correct intonation.

When stating agreement with your listener use rising falling intonation. Use vocal pitch to rise up & then fall down on the focus word (usually the last word in the sentence). ⤵

To make your message even more friendly and personal, say your listeners name.

When you say their name,  use a slight rising intonation.⤻

I guarantee that they’ll love it! ♡

Here’s a few examples:

1. How ARE you today⤵ Su→sAN⤻?

2. You’re RI➙ght⤵ Ja→MES ⤻.

3. How’s the WEA➙ther⤵ Da→VID⤻?

4. Great to SEE you⤵ Ben⤻!

You can listen to these greetings here

 

Speaking with the correct intonation will really change the way that American listeners respond to you! ♫

Likability can be learned

You can learn to communicate in a manner that’s more likable to Americans. I teach these skills every week to the clients in my American accent coaching program.

Contact me at susan@confidentvoice.com if you’re ready to bring your communication skills up to the next level.

At the bottom

How to make small talk

How to make small talk and sound more friendly

How to make small talk at work

How to make small talk at work

Let’s face it!

Americans love small talk. Engaging in small talk is an important way to establish common ground and make connections with others.

Many of my accent reduction coaching clients ask me to teach them strategies for making “small talk” with ease and fluency.

What should I talk about?

Small talk topics can include:

  • simple greetings
  • the weather
  • sports
  • TV shows
  • food

…these are all topics you can use to make small talk with your colleagues, clients and customers.

Creating relationships

If you work in, or with people in the US and Canada, you know that making small talk is a critical skills for getting to know people.

It’s a critical skill for creating strong business relationships.

Small talk dialogs

In my accent reduction coaching programs, I teach my clients small talk skills by using intonation dialogs.

These intonation dialogs are fun to do and they’re very beneficial for learning to say everyday phrases in a fluent & friendly way. ♬

Some small talk examples

☼ Hi how ARE you?⤵

✰I’m doing WELL⤵ and YOU?⤴

☼How was your WEEKend? ⤵

✰It was pretty GOOD.⤵

☼Did you eaDOUt?⤴

✰Yeah, we ateDOUt on SAderday.⤵

My clients find these type of dialogs very beneficial for using the correct intonation when saying everyday phrases!

Intonation code

Those up & down arrows that you see are some of the intonation code symbols that I use in accent reduction training programs & iBook.

You’ve got to use the correct intonation when you make small talk. If your intonation isn’t right, you probably won’t sound as friendly as you’d like.

Learn to make Small Talk using the correct intonation

My iPAD BOOK for the American accent features small talk dialogs by myself and my niece & nephew. Since we’re all native speakers, you hear us using the correct intonation.

And I’ll explain the intonation code.

If you are an iPad user who is working on your American accent, you should definitely check this out ☛ iPAD American Accent Book

The first chapter is free at the link above.

Final words on small talk

I’ll leave you with some last words on “small talk” by Mother Teresa.

 

Thanks for visiting!

Thanks for visiting my blog. There’s lots of tips here so stay as long as you like!

Do you want your American English to sound natural?

Do you want your American English to sound natural?

How to make your spoken English sound natural.

How to make your spoken English sound natural.

One way you can do that is to use contractions when you speak. American English speakers almost always use contractions.

If you want your spoken English to sound more natural, you should too!

People hesitate to use contractions

Many of the people who I work with in my accent reduction programs want to speak with a more fluent and natural sound.

But they were taught in their home countries NOT to use contractions. That’s why many of you hesitate to use contractions when you speak.

You were probably taught that contractions are too informal. Your teachers might have told you that contractions are sloppy.

That’s just not true!

Why should you use contractions when you speak?

Here’s the reason.

Using contractions will make your spoken English smoother. Since you won’t be pronouncing every single word, you’ll sound less choppy to native speakers.

Using contractions will help you reduce & compact little words more effectively.

Reducing and compacting little words will allow you to speak with an American melody. ♬

Examples

  • Would have → would’əv
  • Would you have been there? → Would you’ əv been there?
  • Could have→ could’əv
  • I could have come over.→ I could’əv come over.

There’s More

Additionally, once you learn to speak using contractions you’ll be able to speak more quickly and be understood…just as long as you emphasize your IMPORTANT words.

If you want your English to sound smoother and more American, you should definitely use contractions when you speak!

Get Some Training

If you’re someone who’s  ready to take your American English up to the next level, check out my

Unlock Your American Accent Webinar Classes.

Click on the big blue banner up there on your right to see the details. ↗

You CAN speak American English smoothly and fluently if you get some training. The methods I use in all my webinar and accent reduction coaching programs will enable you to make significant changes in the way you speak.

How to Pronounce Fuel

Are you making this pronunciation mistake?

How to pronounce fuel

How to pronounce fuel

Here’s a word that you may be pronouncing the wrong way. The word is fuel.

This week two of my accent reduction coaching clients emailed me to ask how to pronounce the word fuel correctly.

They were pronouncing it in a way that their listeners interpreted as fool.

Oh, oh, that’s not cool!

How to pronounce fuel correctly

Here’s what you need to know if you want to pronounce fuel correctly.

The word fuel contains both a ʸ and a  ʷ insertion. When I work with my clients, I spell it like this  fʸuʷʷəl.

That usually works.

Listen to the correct pronunciation of fuel here.

Similar words

Other words with  ʸ or  ʷ insertions include:

  • coʷoperate
  • coʷordinate
  • priʸority
  • priʸoritize

You can’t see those insertions, but if you listen carefully to native speakers, you’ll hear them.

Learn more tips for speaking clear American English

Are you ready to learn more tips for speaking clear American English?

I teach you critical skills for clear communication in my Unlock Your American Accent Webinar Classes.

Click on the big blue banner up there on your right to see the details. ↗

Thanks for visiting!

3 Great Websites for Pronunciation Practice

3 Great Websites for Pronunciation Practice

Websites for Pronunciation Practice

Websites for Pronunciation Practice

Are you looking for websites you can use to practice your American English pronunciation?

Here are 3 excellent online resources that I recommend to my accent reduction coaching clients.

These websites are a good way to review and practice the sounds of American English that are challenging for you.

1. Okanagan College

Excellent practice activities for many American English sounds including R & L,

2. Language Guide

The voices used in this site are very nice & clear. There is a lot of vocabulary you can use to listen & repeat.

3. Center for Language Education, HKUST

This site is for Cantonese Speakers but speakers of other languages, especially those of you from Singapore, China & Japan will  find it very useful.

Check out these 3 free online resources and add them to your bookmarks.

Beyond Pronunciation is Real Communication

Of course, you won’t make significant progress improving American English communication style unless you experience live instruction with personal feedback.

That’s because real communication involves much more than the articulation of sounds.

Effective Communication Includes

Effective communication in any language, including American English includes:

  • The correct articulation of vowel & consonant sounds
  • Speaking with the right pace
  • Using the correct intonation
  • Learning to listen to others

Real Communication Skills

I teach you critical skills for clear and engaging American English communication in my Unlock Your American Accent Webinar Classes .

Click on the big blue banner up there on your right to see the details. ↗

Or, choose one of the links below to learn more tips for speaking clear American English. Thanks for visiting!

 

How to Pronounce US Place Names

Pronouncing US Place Names

How to pronounce US place names

How to pronounce US place names.

This is my follow up post on how to pronounce US place names. If you missed yesterday’s post, how to pronounce American place names, you may want to start there.

Two Errors

Yesterday I told you that the BBC Guide, How to Pronounce US Place Names contained 2 errors.

Did you figure out what they were?

The Answers

Here are the answers:

Arkansas should be stressed on the first syllable. That’s the way most Americans say it.

  • Ar➝kansas

Albuquerque should also be stressed on the first syllable. That’s the way most Americans say it.

  • A➝lbuquerque

There will always be exceptions (this is a big country) but most people will say both of these place names with stress on the first syllable.

Listen to My Pronunciation of  Arkansas & Albuquerque

 

Learn to Pronounce US Place Names in my Webinar Classes

I teach you rules for pronouncing American place names, American names (people) and other critical communication skills in my Unlock Your American Accent Webinar Classes .

Click on the big blue banner up there on your right to see the details. ↗

Or, choose one of the links below to learn more tips for speaking clear American English. Thanks for visiting!

 

How to Pronounce American Place Names

How to pronounce American place names.

How to pronounce American place names.

Pronouncing American Place Names

A frequent question that I receive from my accent reduction coaching clients is,

Susan, can you teach me how to say American place names correctly?

And I always tell them, “of course, I can do that!”

How to Pronounce American Place Names

Pronouncing cities, states and other locations correctly is actually quite tricky. That’s because American place names have many origins.

Many of our place names come from French including:

  • Louisville
  • Des Moines
  • Boise
  • Baton Rouge

Others come from native American languages including:

  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Mississippi
  • Massachusetts

And then of course there’s all of our Spanish derived place names including:

  • San Francisco
  • California
  • Colorado
  • San Jose

Of course we’ve “Americanized” the pronunciations of all the place names listed above. So they don’t sound like they would in their language of origin.

One Clear Rule for Pronouncing American Place Names Correctly

Amid all the various names, here’s one rule that will stand true 99% of the time.

Stress two word place names on the second word. For example:

  • Miami BEACH              put the emphasis on BEACH
  • San JOSE                       put the emphasis on JOSE
  • Niagara FALLS            put the emphasis on FALLS
  • North CAROLINA       put the emphasis on CAROLINA

Learn to Pronounce American Place Names in my Webinar Classes

I teach you rules that will help you pronounce American place names, American names (of people) and other critical communication skills in my Unlock Your American Accent Webinar Classes .

Click on the big blue banner up there on your right to see the details. ↗

Some Errors in this Guide from BBC America

And one more thing….this Guide to Pronouncing American Place Names from the BBC contains at least 2 errors. Do you know what they are?

If not,… come back tomorrow when I’ll post the answers.

Guide to Pronouncing American Place Names 

 

 

Why Do I Have an Accent When I Speak American English?

This is my fourth & final post in my series titled

Sound substitution creates an accent.

Sound substitution creates an accent.

Why do I have an accent when I speak American English?

Today I’m going to talk about how sound substitution contributes to your accent.

Sound substitution 

When  speaking English, non native speakers often substitute a sound they are familiar with from their own language for an English sound.

Example #1

For example, Indian, Turkish, Russian & German speakers often substitute a sound like /v/ for the American /w/ sound.

  • This makes the word wine sound like vine.
  • This makes the word west sound like vest.

Example #2

Speakers of many languages including Spanish, Mandarin & Russian use an /iy/ sound for the /I/ American sound.

  • This makes the word chip sounds like cheap.
  • This makes the word list sounds like least.

Using a sound from your native language instead of an American English sound will contribute to your accent.

Sound substitution, question intonation patterns, syllable stress & vowel length

All of the above are components of someone’s accent. If you don’t say sounds, lengthen vowels or use stress and intonation the same way that Americans do, you’ll speak American English with an accent.

And there’s nothing wrong with speaking with an accent!

Accents are only a problem when they create breakdowns in communication. When that happens, you may want to get some training.

Come to My Unlock Your American Accent Webinar

If you’re serious about improving the way you speak American English, I invite you to attend my Unlock Your American Accent Webinar.

In this webinar, I’ll explain more about WHY you speak with an accent and what you can to do change this.

Click on the big blue banner up there on your right to see the details. ↗

If you’d like to see my video tutorials on these (and other American English vowel & consonant sounds) follow the link below.

American Accent Vowel Sound Tutorials

And thanks for visiting my BLOG this week!