” There is no such thing as an unsightly accent, like there’s no such thing as an awful flower,” stated David Crystal, prominent author and speaker on the English language. I concur. Accents are stunning, and I definitely would not wish to lose mine.

There’s likewise no such thing as a “appropriate” accent. They’re all proper; they’re simply various. If your accent interferes with how individuals comprehend your message, these distinctions can turn into issues.

Here’s an example. When I was on holiday in the U.K., several years earlier, I entered into the regional bank in the town where I was remaining. I informed the teller that I wished to cash some tourist’’ s checks.


” Are they taken?” she asked.


I couldn ’ t think what I ‘d heard.” Stolen? “I duplicated, speaking a little louder than regular. “What do you indicate?”

” I stated, ‘‘ ARE THEY STERLING?'” she reacted, raising her voice to match mine. She appeared incredulous and frustrated that I ‘d heard “taken,” and not “sterling.” I asked my spouse later on, and he stated, “I clearly heard ‘‘ taken’ too, the very first time she stated it.”

.Accents and Customer Service.

In a customer care scenario, an accent that’s tough to comprehend can negatively impact the client experience. Data put together by Zendesk in the U.S. reveals that client fulfillment with call centers decreased when the business’s representatives had foreign accents. And research study from the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) recommends that a foreign accent might make it harder for the listener to procedure and keep in mind spoken details.

When individuals can’t comprehend what’s being stated, they can end up being annoyed and baffled. This can lead to unfavorable evaluations. In the long run, it can harm a business’’ s credibility, and even its earnings.

And the issue isn’t restricted to foreign accents. In some cases, even native speakers of the exact same language can discover one another’s local accents hard to translate. And numerous languages likewise have various dialects, which do not simply sound various, however have various grammar and vocabulary, too.

.Identity and Discrimination.

Regional dialects and accents can likewise generate discrimination. Research in the U.K. , for instance, revealed that 28 percent of British individuals felt that they had actually been victimized due to the fact that of their local accent, while no less than 80 percent of companies confessed to making prejudiced choices based upon local accents.

So, if you have a foreign accent, or a strong local accent, what should you do? The world is a mosaic of various accents: should all of us deal with removing them? Even if this were simple to do, it would not be everybody’s favored option. Removing an accent needs massive effort, and for much of us it would indicate quiting a part of our identity and our culture, too.

Nonetheless, if your accent is tough for your audience to comprehend, it does makes good sense to deal with the problem. Speaking in a manner that is plainly comprehended assists you to get in touch with others much better. It lowers the aggravation that others might experience in attempting to comprehend what you’’ re stating. And, most significantly, the capability to interact efficiently with others can pay excellent dividends for your profession.

.12 Tips for Clearer Communication.

If you are worried that you can’t be plainly comprehended at work since of your accent, there is plenty that you can do to lower or customize it.

Consider the following suggestions:

.1. Experiment a Native Speaker.

If you’re providing a discussion, ask a relied on associate or pal who is a native speaker (or who has a regional accent) to inspect that you’re pronouncing your words properly.

If you can’’ t satisfy face to face, you can record your discussion in PowerPoint , or into a video app on your phone, and ask your relied on partner how you can enhance your shipment.

.2. Speak More Slowly.

When you’’ re providing a discussion, or talking in a conference, speak a little slower than you would in a discussion with a good friend. Include short stops briefly of a 2nd or two after crucial expressions, specifically for important points that you desire the audience to concentrate on and keep in mind.

.3. Include Key Points to Your Slides.

I do not promote including excessive text to your slides, however if your accented speech is hard to comprehend, defining your bottom lines can assist your listeners to follow what you’’ re stating.

. If you have problem pronouncing specific words, #ppppp> This is a helpful method. If the slide looks like you speak, the audience will typically understand what you’’ re doing, and they will value your efforts to assist them comprehend.

.4. Discover the Idioms.

In my salad days (see, I simply utilized an idiom!), I worked for an airline company that used British pilots. When I was attempting to find out the service to a catering issue, the pilot recommended that I “utilize my loaf.” Being fairly brand-new to the English language at that time, it took me a couple of seconds to recognize that this suggested I ought to utilize my good sense. This has actually stuck with me as a fine example of how understanding the regional idioms can make interaction more instant.

Luckily, there are numerous sites where you can discover idioms. Using English (British idioms), Phrase Finder (American idioms), and the Glossary of Canadian English are great locations to begin. Keep in mind that idioms are cultural or typically local in nature, too. If you’re not sure, look for suggestions from the residents!

.5. Take an Accent Modification Class.

If you’re major about altering the method you speak, and you’re prepared to put in the hours, there are lots of accent decrease classes readily available. Look for a workshop in your location, or attempt online classes such as those used by Udemy .

6. Usage Online Pronunciation Resources.

There’’ s a wealth of resources online that can assist you to enhance your pronunciation in numerous languages. Take a look at websites such as BBC –– The Sounds of English , and Rachel’’ s English ( for American English).

. 7. Deal with a Speech Therapist.

Some accredited speech therapists are likewise certified accent decrease experts. As mentor you to customize your accent, they can assist you to prevent some of the mistakes of speaking a 2nd language. These mistakes consist of words that have the exact same spelling however various significances, depending on inflection – — demonstration and demonstration. (You can discover more examples here .)

In some locations, accent decrease services might even be covered by your company’s prolonged medical insurance, supplied you deal with a qualified speech therapist (this holds true in Vancouver, Canada, where I live).


Watching TELEVISION programs, films, or YouTube videos with closed captions is a fairly simple and easy and pleasurable method to hear the manner in which native speakers pronounce their words. It’s not the most standard method, however some individuals have discovered entire brand-new languages by doing this!

.9. Utilize an Online Dictionary That Provides Audio.

At dictionary.com, you get not just the composed meaning of English words, however likewise their audio pronunciation. If the word has 2 various pronunciations for 2 various significances, you get audio for both .

The Cambridge Dictionary , on the other hand, provides you both the U.K. and the U.S. pronunciation of English words.

.10. Be Inspired by Successful Accented Speakers.

If you choose to deal with softening your accent, defend against losing self-confidence in who you are. Take motivation from the lots of extremely effective individuals who talk to an accent. As an example, view how Greek-American author and businesswoman, Arianna Huffington, describes her accent at the start of this discussion .

.11. Practice Public Speaking.

Toastmasters is a global company, with clubs in 143 nations, where you can practice public speaking. Whether you require to speak in public for your task, signing up with Toastmasters can assist you to enhance your interaction abilities . It’s likewise a fantastic chance to talk with native speakers, and to get positive feedback in a friendly, helpful environment.

.12. Offer Training for Your Employees.

If you’’ re a personnels expert charged with working with customer support representatives or other front-facing staff members, think about using them English expression classes. A number of the training suppliers in this field offer business options.

.Perseverance and Empathy.

We all come across accented speakers in all work environments –– whether it’’ s at the bank, the workplace, or the shop. And all people require to be more versatile to this brand-new truth. And we require to comprehend that all of us have an accent, no matter where we’’ re from.

Above all, we need to have the perseverance and compassion to accept that everybody requires to earn a living, which nobody in company selects to speak in a manner that is not easily comprehended. The next time you feel inflamed by somebody who has an accent that you discover tough to comprehend, provide an opportunity. Open your ears, and your heart.

For more suggestions on offering discussions as an accented speaker, take a look at Bruna Martinuzzi’s book, Presenting with Credibility: Practical Tools and Techniques for Effective Presentations .

The post Changing Your Accent for an International Audience appeared initially on Mind Tools L&D Blog .


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