I’ve written several posts about how non native speakers can use the Toastmasters format to practice their speaking skills.
The support you receive when you join a Toastmasters Club is quite phenomenal.
In my two years as a very active member, I learned to:
- Relax in front of an audience
- Use body language more effectively
- Almost eliminate my uhmmz ’n ahhhz
- Use pauses effectively
These skills are critical for anyone who does a lot speaking, presenting, selling or pitching.
These days many of us find ourselves doing all of the above everyday; selling our ideas in meetings, communicating with customers and presenting ourselves to others.
However, as good as Toastmasters is for improving one’s public speaking skills…you can’t expect your club members to give you specific feedback on your pronunciation errors.
There’s a couple of reasons for this:
1. Many native speakers feel that it’s impolite to correct someone’s mispronunciations
2. Most native speakers don’t know how to give you feedback on your accent related errors
They don’t know how to say:
You stressed the wrong syllable in that word.
Your T sounds are too strong.
You should’ve used an /ae/ as in Black vowel sound in that word.
You should’ve used rising falling intonation in that question.
In order to get specific feedback on your accent… the type of feedback that will bring your speaking skills to the next level, you’ll probably need accent reduction training.
Am I saying that you have to lose your accent in order to be a good public speaker?
However, if your goal is to speak with perfect clarity, you may need to learn some accent reduction or accent modification techniques…. the stuff that I write about here on my blog.
You can get my tips and techniques in your email by subscribing to my blog updates on the right panel of this page.
Listen to this short audio story/podcast about a lively group of Silicon Valley Toastmasters. They’ll tell you the skills they’ve learned in Toastmasters that are helping them communicate with less fear and better body language.
This is a fun podcast!
BTW~ If you work in IT and are looking for some specific techniques for speaking American English more clearly, you’ll be interested in my IT Professionals Guide to the American Accent.
You can get this 18 page guide right now at the link below.IT Professionals Guide to the American Accent