Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much do programs cost? Costs vary depending on the type of program. The first 1:1 30-minute consultation/screener is free, at which time various programs are discussed. There are several options, which vary depending on whether the program is for an individual or a group; the number of participants in the group; duration; and frequency. Discount packages and other incentives are always available.
3. Where do sessions take place? Most sessions take place online.Sessions can also take place at your place of business, my office in Chelsea, my home office in Upper Manhattan, or another agreed upon venue (presentation stage, on-set for actors).
4. Do you work internationally? Yes! I have, and have had clients from allover the world. Scheduling is flexible.
5. Are Zoom and other online sessions as effective as in-person sessions for working on accent reduction and professional communication development? In most cases, I have found that they are. In fact, using good earphones allows for the sound signal to be even more direct than in a room where acoustics or background noise may interfere, even slightly. You can see the placement of the tongue, lips, teeth, etc., and with verbal descriptions, which are always provided, it is very clear. Zoom and other formats are also super practical for people with busy schedules or who travel a lot for work.
6. When are sessions available? Both day and evening sessions are available, and we are open seven days a week.
7. How long does it take to reduce or eliminate an accent? It depends on how diligently you do the practice assignments, how open you are to change, and how motivated you are. Forming new habits takes dedication. Clients who have taken 12-week programs often improve by 50-60% or more. There are some who have taken 20 sessions and all but eliminated their accents. It really varies. Some people have more of a gift for picking up the sounds and assimilating them.
8. How do I know if I need accent modification or voice and speaking help? If people often ask you to repeat yourself, or misunderstand what you have said, it might just be for you! If you feel that the way you speak is holding you back, professionally, socially, or both, you are a candidate for speech enhancement.
9. How do I know if the employees at my company would benefit from accent reduction or voice and speech improvement? If important players are being dismissed for promotion, or not being utilized to their fullest due to their communication skills, then the service may prove invaluable. Call for a consultation to discuss individual or group programs, which are custom-tailored to suit your company's needs.
10. Do you work on English language skills? English proficiency is required for any program offered. However, we do work on practical writing, business writing, fine-tuning grammar and vocabulary skills, and cultural communication differences, as they impact overall professional communication skills.
11. How do the group sessions work? Group sessions are usually limited to five people. Classes for a larger number can be arranged. Group classes are announced here, on my website, for various times; classes can always be arranged for groups of employees at a company, or friends who want to work together. If individual sessions are beyond your budget, let me know, and I can help find a good candidate or candidates to take the class with, in order to allay fees.
12. Can I get an evaluation without taking a course? What is the evaluation like? Yes. You can take the evaluation either online or in person. A complete evaluation involves a questionnaire, interview and videotapes of you speaking, preferably in several contexts. An evaluation may prove very valuable to you in gaining insight into your known and unknown communication style and direction you can take to start improving.
An accent evaluation involves saying words and sentences, reading aloud, and speaking spontaneously. It is very thorough and provides a clear blueprint of the sounds, intonation, voice, and grammatical issues that you need to work on. We will discuss the results either in person or over Zoom, and I can answer any questions you may have. You receive a detailed printout explaining the areas you need to address.
13. What materials are used for the courses? Do they cost extra? I make most of my own materials and use materials from many different sources, which I have collected over the years. They include both print and audio downloads, as well as videos. I create new materials all the time, based on my clients' needs. They are included in the price of the course. You will have them to practice from long after your program has ended.
14. How does the free Screener for accent work? After you connect to the site, you will be directed to speak some words aloud, read, and speak spontaneously. I will get back to you with feedback regarding your speech, and answer questions you may have.
15. In terms of voice, can a person really change and improve their speaking voice? Yes, definitely! Most people are in the habit of speaking by using only part of their voice. Once you learn the fundamentals of grounding, relaxation, breathing, resonance, and connecting to your message, as well as address the self-imposed boundaries you may have accumulated over a lifetime, your speaking voice will improve, and... most likely, your whole life will, as well!
16. Are there any cancellation fees for scheduled sessions? Yes, there is a 24-hour cancellation fee for scheduled sessions.
17. What if I can't afford your fees? If individual sessions are too much for your budget, you can allay fees by working with one or two other people. Contact me, and I will help to find an appropriate person to work with (ex. from a similar language/speech background/professional needs)!