Maybe you are struggling with a foreign accent and have lost some self-confidence at work because of it. You are repeating yourself frequently (and that’s getting old real fast), other people jump in and explain what you just said or meant, you see blank stares or people responding off-topic to what you just said, or someone at work has told you were not selected to do the presentation because of your accent.
Research shows that your listeners grow tired of having to try to translate the message when you hard to understand. Your listener will stick with you for only so long before shutting down and stop listening. This puts you at a disadvantage. You have a couple of choices: Lose your accent completely or reduce your accent. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both. Continue reading
It only takes seconds to make an impression. It seems the research varies from 1/10th of a second to 30 seconds (with an average of 7 seconds). The fact remains, we judge quickly and others are doing the same when we first meet. The question is, what can we do about it?
A lot of people take for granted the powerful tools they have to create lasting impressions that help them every day in their communications with business customers and colleagues and help them to achieve their goals and aspirations.Continue reading
Your tone of voice says a lot. It indicates your friendliness, confidence, and how authentic you are. People will choose whether they want to do business with you based on the way you sound. There are both positive, uplifting tones that we can feel encouraged by and there are other tones of voice that can demoralize and demotivate. Sometimes, people don’t recognize that their vocal tone is so disheartening. Even if they do, they aren’t sure what it is about their tone that makes them sound that way. Below are three vocal tones that should be avoided in the workplace and an explanation of what is happening through speech, language and voice characteristics. Continue reading
It’s not all that difficult to get caught up in our own little world and forget that differences exist between us and our foreign colleagues with whom we interact and/or do business. I’ve been guilty of it and was it ever an awkward and embarrassing moment when I found out I committed an egregious faux pas. (I wanted to hide when I was calmly and tactfully corrected. Luckily, I had a forgiving friend.) Here are some terrific tips to help you understand cultural differences. They come from Rhonda Coast, who is an expert on cross-cultural training in the workplace. It’s a must read to help you to avoid making a mistake that leaves you embarrassed.Continue reading
When I work with an executive on diction and pronunciation, I always check their jaw/tongue/lips for signs of tension. Usually, it’s visible. The lips are clenched a little and the mouth doesn’t open very widely. It’s no wonder that they sound like they are mumbling and are difficult to understand. In the case of tension and “tongue tied”, we often work on relaxation exercises to realize the potential the muscles of our vocal tract have. We practice an exaggerated mouth opening on counting and other automatic speech tasks. (Most clients find their jaw exhausted after our exercises.)
Then, we find ways to incorporate this skill into everyday activities. If my clients have young children, the first thing that I recommend is to read, “Fox in Socks” by Dr. Seuss. Continue reading
With the US political campaign season coming to a close, you may have noticed that a stark difference in communication styles exists between the top two candidates. Each candidate resonates with some audiences but not with others. This fact verifies what you already know: you can’t please everyone with your style. Often times when I give examples of style differences at my workshops, I hear complete opposite reactions to the same voice. One person loves the way a speaker communicates and someone else hates it. This dichotomy presents an interesting challenge for you, because as an executive speaker who is trying to resonate with your audience, you know that there are audience members that you just won’t be able to reach. Continue reading
When I was first starting out as a professional, there were occasions that my employer wanted me to do some public speaking. I was absolutely mortified to have to consider this daunting task! First of all, it scared me to have to create a compelling presentation to a professional audience and secondly, I was afraid to speak and be in front of people who were judging me (as least, that’s what I thought). Because of my self-degrading thoughts, my voice sounded shaky and I didn’t project very well.Continue reading
Lacking vocal expressiveness is a common problem and sounding monotone won’t captivate your audience. Here is a solution to help you become more vocally expressive: Continue reading
When if comes to appearing competent, articulate and qualified, small changes in the way you speak can boost your potential for business success. Speaking well may influence the listener on whether or not he or she wants to pursue a business relationship with you. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:Continue reading
You are bright, extremely intelligent, and a great asset to your company. Everyone raves about your knowledge and expertise. People ask for your opinion but yet they don’t get done what you have asked them to do or you receive a lot of blank stares. Although English is not your native language, you know you have an excellent command of English grammar and perhaps you’ve even lived in the U.S. for many years. However, you realize that people have a difficult time understanding you and you notice that your colleagues seem to be avoiding you.
How is it that you have such a good command of the English language but are still difficult to understand? There are six potential problems to consider: