One of the benefits for non-native English speakers who participate in Accent Reduction Training is gaining a greater confidence in speaking situations. For instance in an interview, a presentation, a phone call or a meeting.
An often overlooked factor in accent improvement is the impact that body language can have on your communicative effectiveness. Certainly, your posture influences the way you are perceived by others. However, a lesser known concept is that your posture shapes how you perceive yourself; perceptions which are then reinforced through your behaviours and interactions.
“Your body shapes your mind. Your mind shapes your behaviour. And your behaviour shapes your future.” – Amy Cuddy
In her book, Presence (2015), Amy Cuddy describes the practice of using high-power poses to facilitate our ability to become more present, confident, willing to face challenges and connect with others. Presence helps you stay focused on the actual communication exchange. Without presence you may be distracted by thoughts, like thinking about the judgements others might be making.
High-power poses are expansive postures that take up more space. This brings us to the starfish, who embodies expansion and claiming the maximum space available. That is to say, the starfish is a powerful cue, serving as a reminder to prepare for challenging situations with BIG POSES.
Your voice naturally takes on the movement of your body. For example, if you move quickly, you will speak quickly. And if you hold a nervous posture, your voice will sound nervous. An angry facial expression and your voice will sound angry. Likewise, if you take on a powerful pose, your voice will sound powerful and confident.
I encourage my accent reduction students to prepare for speaking situations that trigger their anxiety by using BIG POSES. This can be accomplished either physically or imaginary. By boosting presence and confidence, the powerful poses result in a slower speech rate, greater voice projection and more focused listening. Behaviours that promote clear speech.
May is National Speech and Hearing Month. And… I am thrilled to celebrate with the launch of my 60 Day Online Accent Reduction Course.
The 60 Day Course begins with an online assessment of spoken English, followed by weekly training sessions. Training starts with an emphasis on focused listening to the sounds you personally find most challenging. Listening is followed by pronunciation training and a review of the rhythmic features of English. The result is clearer and more natural sounding speech.