Accent reduction: What are the benefits of improving your accent?
Be better understood by others...Speaking with a heavy accent can make it difficult for others to understand you. Further, when they have to ask, "Excuse me?" or "What did you say?" it takes time and energy. They are likely to lose patience and look for ways to end the conversation. Accent reduction can help you be better understood!
Be more self-confident...Even if you are a naturally self-confident person, you may be self-conscious at some level about your accent. This fear may keep you from speaking up in public, standing up and stating your ideas, and taking charge when the opportunity arises. Don't let your accent keep you from being the most effective and confident person you can be.
Command the attention of an audience...Judy Ravin, a leading accent reduction trainer and author of Lose Your Accent in 28 Days and co-author of Master the American Accent, had a client come to her and ask for help losing his accent after a very disturbing event. He was speaking before an audience of 1,000 at a major high tech industry conference. After about 5 minutes, he noticed that the audience was starting to look bored. A couple of minutes later, several audience members escaped to the exits. After 15 minutes, just halfway through his talk, about 25% of the audience was gone! He was an expert on the topic at hand — so it wasn't the actual content he was delivering. It was the delivery itself. His accent got in the way of what might have been a very successful talk!
Be more credible...Research from the University of Chicago shows that foreign accents make speakers seem less truthful to listeners. What’s behind this? The listener’s brain. Non-native speech is more difficult for the listener’s brain to parse (analyze). This difficulty causes the listener to doubt the accuracy of what they’re hearing. Read more about this on our blog here.
Improve your social life...Speaking more clearly and being better understood will make people more likely to want to engage in conversation with you. Barriers are lowered and communication flows more naturally. You spend less time repeating yourself and clarifying points and more time exchanging ideas.
The following is an excerpt from a New York Times article:
UNCLEAR ON AMERICAN CAMPUS: WHAT THE FOREIGN TEACHER SAID
By Alan Finder
Valerie Serrin still remembers vividly her anger and the feeling of helplessness. After getting a C on a lab report in an introductory chemistry course, she went to her teaching assistant to ask what she should have done for a better grade.
The teaching assistant, a graduate student from China, possessed a finely honed mind. But he also had a heavy accent and a limited grasp of spoken English, so he could not explain to Ms. Serrin, a freshman at the time, what her report had lacked.
"He would just say, 'It's easy, it's easy,' " said Ms. Serrin, who recently completed her junior year at the University of California, Berkeley. "But it wasn't easy. He was brilliant, absolutely brilliant, but he couldn't communicate in English."