"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart."
You’re at dinner party or group gathering with friends you’ve made over the years you’ve spent living, studying, and working abroad. The music is great, the wine 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.
He's following your every word, and when you finally finish speaking, he leans in to ask a question…
Where did you learn to speak English so well?
BOOM. There it is. That question again.
Rather than responding to your ideas or asking an insightful question, this guy 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 here for quite a while.
All because this one person focused on your accent rather than your message.
Of course, you may be able to brush this question off and return to the conversation at hand.
After all, not everyone worries about their accent (nor should you!).
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, just to have a conversation about something more interesting than talking about myself (again).
I can help you.
My clients come to me for language coaching and accent training for any number of reasons:
- Some 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.
- 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 more effectively in professional meetings, presentations, and conferences.
- The rest would like to express themselves more like native speakers. They want to show their emotions and attitude using tone 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 learning to speak English more effectively is primarily about learning how to more consistently stress words by emphasizing certain syllables, link words to sound less choppy and more fluid, and vary your intonation for clarity, effect and interest.
While you can choose to study each of these elements on your own, working closely with an accent coach will get you results much more quickly because the program will be personalized to your specific needs.
After nearly a decade working with non-native speakers, I've developed a time-tested curriculum 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 forward (closer) to being more perfect.
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
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!
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 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 when having personal and professional conversations
- you want to practice all of these skills while having real conversations
Please note that my programs are for advanced and fluent non-native English speakers who understand fast, natural spoken English.
Here's what one-to-one coaching with me looks like.
If you want to know exactly what you should do to improve your pronunciation and reduce your accent, I can guide you.
You'll record yourself speaking English in audio or video in response to I'lll evaluate the way you sound.
I'll also send you a video assessment with personalized suggestions on specific steps you should take to immediately start improving your spoken English.
Receive my feedback on your accent and pronunciation, learn how you can better use stress and intonation, and understand how to control your voice and breath.
You'll meet with me on Skype or Google Hangouts for a one hour coaching session. You'll leave with a recording containing with specific, personalized suggestions for independent practice. I'll also send you a PDF evaluation
Improve your accent on your own schedule by following my time-tested curriculum.
I'll guide you with video coaching, MP3 recordings, and PDF worksheets.
You can choose to get consistent feedback and guidance from me by adding voice chat, video coaching, or one-to-one sessions.