How Do I Start a Program?
How a Program Starts
People often ask how a program with Accent On Speech works; specifically, how to start the ball rolling. So... I'll tell you.
Well, programs usually start by YOU reaching out to ME. :)
We schedule a call, either online or over the phone. This is the initial consultation and might last 15 minutes. It's free, of course!
If you decide to take a program, I ask you to fill out a questionnaire, as well as send a few recordings or videos of you presenting or just speaking on some topic--people often talk about why they want to take a program, their goals for their program, and how they want to see it impacting their professional and personal lives. Or, they might upload a video of an interview, presentation, or just them speaking about their job, what they do, and the role communication plays in it.
After all of that is completed (our conversation, the questionnaire, and the recordings...), I plan your program based on your unique goals and issues, and... we get started! We typically meet once a week--online, usually. There is often communication mid-week to check in on progress, provide feedback, etc. I am with you in this endeavor every step of the way.
To take a bit of the mystery out of the process, I am providing the questionnaire I use with new clients. (I've taken out the spaces for your answers and elaboration.)
Here it is:
*Self Evaluation for Native and Non-Native Speaking Professionals
Answer questions as they are relevant to your needs.
If you can send or link to a video or audio recording of yourself speaking, that would be very helpful; and if there are more than one, send several.
What types of contexts do you communicate in most frequently for work? 1:1 conversations-with co-workers, clients; participating in group meetings; leading group meetings; presenting information to small groups, large groups; moderating discussions; planned talks, impromptu speaking...
Of these contexts, in which are you the most comfortable? Which the least?
If your issues relate more to personal communication (your daily interactions with strangers, acquaintances, friends, family), talk about what you struggle with or what you would like to become more comfortable and confident with.
Consider issues that you have been aware of in your communication style or that people have commented on in the past. What are they?
What, if anything, have you done to address the issues?
Please share any other thoughts or insights you have regarding your overall voice, speech, and communication style that you didn't already state or would like to elaborate on.
What do you want to change/improve? What are your goals for your program?
What do you want to say you accomplished after your program has been completed? Try to be specific. How are you sounding? How are you feeling?
If it is hard to analyze and talk about your own speaking, use this checklist to help pinpoint specific issues. Mark the descriptions you feel sometimes or often relate to you. Feel free to elaborate.
___ My voice is too loud.
___ My voice is too soft.
___ I speak too fast.
___ I speak too slowly.
___ My voice is too high.
___ My voice is too low.
___ I don't articulate words clearly.
___ My voice is raspy/creaky. I use glottal fry.
___ My voice is too nasal.
___ My voice is monotone.
___ I lack dynamism in my voice.
___ My voice is too effusive (pitch changes too much).
___ My voice seems young/immature.
___ My voice is challenging to listen to.
___ My speaking is staccato (syllables are punchy, choppy).
___ My tone of voice seems too flirty, fun, or informal for a professional environment.
___ My voice starts out strong but fades at the end of sentences.
___ My sentences end with a questioning tone, even when making a statement.
___ My vocabulary could be more professional.
___ I use too many fillers (um, like, you know, etc.)
___ I talk too much.
___ I talk too little.
___ I struggle to get the point across succinctly; I ramble.
___ I undersell my talents and skills.
___ I don't sound confident while speaking.
___ I sound over confident when I speak.
___ I struggle with making eye contact.
____ My body language is lacking.
___ I think I come across as distant.
___ I struggle with small talk.
___ I have difficulty controlling nervous energy when I speak.
___ I have trouble speaking in front of a group.
___ I struggle in one-to-one conversations in daily life.
___ I don't project a strong vocal presence over the phone/in conferencing.
___ My email or other written communication skills need improvement.
___ I have difficulty making my voice heard/presence known in a group of people (meetings, etc.)
___ I have difficulty making my voice heard in a noisy environment (mixers, parties, etc.)
Some other questions to consider:
- Who do you have to be to have what you want?
- How do you like feedback? Straight forward or more gentle?
- What's worked for you around goals looking back at your life?
- Given that you know yourself best, what do you think would stop you from achieving your goals?
- What might you do to sabotage the work we do together?
- What do you do when you're overwhelmed?
- When you usually get stuck, what happens? What doesn't work?
- How do you deal with disappointment or failure?
If you are interested in improving your ACCENT, please fill out the following information.
Email address: ______________________ Phone number: ____________________________
What days and times would you be able to attend the class one day a week? _________________________________________________________________________
Education Level or Background: __________________________________________________
Native Language: _____________________________ Country: _________________________
How long have you lived here? _________________________________
How long have you been speaking English? ________________________________________
In what country did you learn English? _____________________________________________
Please describe how you learned English. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Did your teachers speak with an accent? ___________________________________________
How would you rate your pronunciation of English? Circle one.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
poor average good
How would you describe your ability to use English to express yourself in your daily life?
Do other people have difficulty understanding you? Circle one.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
usually sometimes never
When do you feel most confident speaking English, i.e, at home, at work, social occasions, etc.?
When do you feel least confident speaking English? __________________________________
What areas of spoken English (grammar, vocabulary, etc.) do you feel confident? ___________
How would you rate your ability to write in English? Circle one.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
poor average good
When do you speak English? ____________________________________________________
When do you speak your native language? _________________________________________
How do you feel you would benefit from improving your spoken English? __________________
What other language(s) do you speak? _____________________________________________
Do you have a hearing problem or difficulty in hearing others talk? Yes ___ No___
If yes, ______________________________
Is there anything else you want to say relating to your goals for your program? _____________
For Accent Modification:
Which comments/sentiments most closely match your own?
__ I want to speak clear and effective English, so that I am not misunderstood, and am understood by as many people as possible.
__ I want to feel confident in most speaking situations.
__ I want to like the sound of my speech, and never feel inhibited to speak.
__ I am fine with having some accent; it is part of who I am. I just want to improve, so that I feel more comfortable and confident with the way I speak.
__ I want to sound as much like a native English speaker as possible. (American English)
__ I need to develop a certain accent for a role.
__ I want to know that I am speaking the best English I am capable of. I'm a bit of a perfectionist.
__ I want the mystery taken out of English. I want to feel more in control of the way I sound!
__ I don't want people to keep asking me, "Where are you from?"
__ I don't want my accent to be a distraction.
__ I want to work on the sound of my voice... professional speaking manner... ability to speak in front of a group... telephone speaking skills...