Has this ever happened to you?
You’re at dinner party with friends you’ve made over the years you’ve spent living, studying, and working in North America.
The music is great, the food is delicious, and you’re sitting around the table having a fantastic conversation with people you truly connect with and care about.
You start sharing your opinion on a topic you feel truly passionate about.
You start speaking more quickly.
Ideas are flowing out of your mouth.
People are nodding along with what you’re saying, and you feel so understood.
You feel a moment of pride that you’re able to speak so confidently and fluently in a language that isn’t your first.
You notice that someone you don’t know is watching you closely.
They're following your every word, and when you finally finish speaking, they lean in to ask a question…
Where did you learn to speak English so well?
There it is. That question again.
Rather than responding to your ideas or asking an insightful question, this person is focused on how you sound when speaking.
Rather than continuing with the flow of conversation, you now have to explain your story once again: where you learned English, your graduate studies in the US, the fact that you’ve lived and worked here for years.
You're tired of having to discuss your accent rather than your message.
Of course, you may be able to brush this question off and return to the conversation.
But you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t think there was something you could do to improve how you sound when speaking English.
Here’s the thing: when you’re with people who know and respect you, they probably don’t even notice your accent anymore.
But when you’re meeting new people, whether that’s a lecture hall filled with students, or a conference room of business colleagues, or a social event like the one I just described, you know that your accent affects their first impression and perception of you.
I know how you feel - I’ve spent years living and working in South America and I can’t even count the number of times people have pointed out my accent in Spanish.
That story I just told you? That's happened to me many, many times.
I’m familiar with that long pause... where this person I don’t know considers where I’m from, whether they understand me, whether *I* understand *them*, and whether to follow their curiosity and ask me for my story.
To be honest, most of the time, I'm happy to answer, but sometimes I just want to fit in and sound like a native speaker so I can have a conversation about something more interesting than talking about myself (again).
I can help you.
My clients often come to me for accent and communication coaching for these reasons:
- They want to reduce their accent so that they feel like they fit in and belong in American culture. They don't want their accent to create distance between them and other people.
- Some want to speak more clearly and find out if their accent is easy to understand because they are interviewing for a new job, taking a speaking exam, applying to university or grad school, or trying to get a new position or promotion at work.
- Others want to reduce their accent to avoid being asked to repeat themselves. They're tired of wondering if it’s because of the accent or because the idea wasn’t clear.
- Still others want to learn to use their voice to communicate more effectively in professional meetings, presentations, and conferences.
- The rest would like to express themselves more like native speakers with clear stress and intonation. They want to show their emotions and attitude through their tone of voice rather than words. They want to ask questions that sound less demanding, give polite feedback, and show curiosity and openness.
When it comes to accent training, there are actually several aspects to consider. Many non-native speakers expect to spend time simply troubleshooting challenging sounds.
But improving your accent is primarily about learning how to:
- consistently stress the right words by emphasizing certain syllables
- vary your pitch and intonation for clarity, effect and interest
- break your ideas into shorter, more digestible thought groups so people can follow what you're saying, and
- link words to sound less choppy and more fluid.
While you can choose to work on each of these elements on your own, personalized guidance feedback on your specific needs can help you get results more quickly.
After 10 years working with non-native speakers, I've developed a time-tested program that consistently leads to results.
My clients mention again and again that I notice things about the way they're producing sounds or shaping their mouths that other accent trainers just haven't noticed before.
By following my methods, they sound more natural and less robotic,
more expressive and less monotone, more clear and easy to understand.
What My Clients Are Saying
After working with you, I feel more confident interacting with people. I feel more welcoming than I was before. I feel more confident with my intonation. I can now use my English to get into a deeper conversation, but I wasn’t able to do that before because I was constantly worried about my accent and my intonation. I’m not a perfectionist anymore, once I got rid of the idea of being a perfectionist, I’m actually one step closer to being more perfect.
-Nikki, Japan (living in the US)
I'm so glad I took this language assessment! First of all, I'd like to congratulate you for the way you conduct your channel. You're so charismatic, informative, and devoted! Second, I am very impressed with the thoroughness and expertise you demonstrated in the Accent Assessment video and written response. I've been following your suggestions ever since and I've already seen improvements. Finally, not only you gave me invaluable suggestions and info to improve my speaking, but you also boosted my overall confidence.
-Toni, Brazil (living in the US)
In my humble opinion you are awesome... you didn't just provide us with the combination of words which we have to use... but you provide us also with the emotional part... with feelings... what to say in which occasion... that's absolutely fantastic for me!
Having lived in the United States for 10 years, I thought I had a fairly good accent already. I was blown away by the meticulous detail Kim has provided through the video assessment, along with the helpful articles. With just one assessment, I found out some of the biggest pronunciation mistakes I kept on making for years, and fixed them already!
She even pointed out that I had "Californian" intonation, and taught me how to improve that into more "standard" American English. Looking at how Kim moved her lips and tongue in the video was very helpful as well, since I could exactly see how to change my way of making these sounds. This was the best money I've spent in the last couple of months!
-Sung, South Korea (living in the US)
I came to lessons with you with clear goals, but through the course of working with you, I diagnosed and got to the root of my problems. I’ve learned that small nuances make a big impact on how people perceive, or receive, my message and that key messages are more important than sounding perfect. What I needed wasn’t perfection, but communication.
-Min Jeong, South Korea (living in the US)
I believe that it would be almost impossible for me to improve my speaking English without your help! It is so surprising that we were able to refine my speaking despite the fact that we had had only two weeks! My goal was to pass the IELTS with an overall score no less than 6.5, which is a key requirement for applying to Master’s degree in most European universities. I had a lot of troubles “speeding up” my speech and extending vocabulary. Fortunately, I was referred to you, a marvelous speaking trainer, and you were not afraid to help me, despite the fact that we had only two weeks before the exam date! Thanks to you, I managed to improve my “Speaking” score from 6.0 to 7.0!
Is working with me right for you?
My programs are for you if:
- you want to target the aspects of your pronunciation that are most distracting from your message
- you want to reduce your accent so you are more easily understood
- you want to learn how to change your pitch, volume, and breath to clearly communicate your meaning
- you want to learn how to use word stress to create the natural rhythm of spoken English
- you want to learn how to use stress to emphasize the key meaning of your message
- you want to learn the secrets of connected speech and how words are linked together by native speakers
- you want to learn how to reduce sounds (think gonna, wanna, dunno)
- you want to understand how intonation affects your meaning in conversation
- you want to learn how to create a friendly, approachable tone of voice when having personal and professional conversations
My programs are NOT for you if:
- you have significant trouble understanding fast, natural spoken English (my accent reduction programs are for advanced and fluent non-native English speakers)
- you are looking to focus primarily on the articulation of consonant and vowel sounds (a speech language pathologist is a better fit for detailed work on how to move your lips, mouth, tongue, jaw)
- you're NOT interested in working on your pitch, stress, intonation, or thought groups or other aspects of prosody and your voice or breath (this is my area of expertise)
- you're looking for general English tutoring or primarily want to focus on grammar, vocabulary, writing, or other English skills (accent coaching is more specialized and focused)
- you are NOT prepared to practice every day between our sessions (the majority of work is done outside of the sessions)
- you are NOT able to commit to meeting with me every week (if your schedule is unpredictable right now, start with one of my step-by-step programs)
Here's how to start working with me.
Ask all your questions on your accent and pronunciation, learn how you personally can better use stress and intonation, and understand how to control your voice and breath.
You'll meet with me on Skype for a 60-minute coaching session. You'll leave with a recording containing with specific, personalized suggestions and next steps. I'll also send you a PDF summary of our meeting.
Want more personalized guidance and support through one-to-one coaching? Then consider meeting with me for weekly Skype sessions focused on improving the aspects of your accent that are most urgent for clear communication.
We'll meet for four weekly 60-minute coaching sessions. Each session will be recorded so that you can review what we discussed and continue practicing between meetings.
Would you like feedback from me as you work through my self-paced courses or in addition to our coaching sessions?
Then consider getting guidance directly from me via WhatsApp or voice chat. You'll send me two practice exercises per week (eight per month).
I'll give you specific suggestions so that you can continue to make progress knowing you're on the right track.