Charlemagne was right...
Speaking in a second... or third... language is different from speaking in your native tongue.
Stay up to date with me!Scroll below for the most up-to-date news relating to Accent on Speech, my free online classes, podcasts I've featured on, blog posts, freebies, other resources and more.
March Madness Sale
From now until 3/31/23 prices for 1:1 programs are reduced by 10%. Individual sessions are reduced from $280 per hour to $180! This is quite a deal, so don't sit on it...
"What did you say??"
If you're frequently, or even sometimes, asked to repeat yourself OR your input or comments are returned with blank stares or nods by your listeners, this class is for you.
Not being understood when you speak can be one of the most frustrating experiences a communicator can have. Clarity is often an extra challenge if you are a non-native speaker of English. However, even though 65% of my clients are non-native speakers, clarity is frequently an issue for my native English-speaking clients, as well.
There are several potential reasons why you are having a hard time being understood-the first time. If you're a non-native speaker, you may be distorting or replacing English sounds with ones close to them in your own language, or, you may be deleting sounds all together, because you just don't hear them.
The issue could also be related to your intonation. The words and syllables you stress in connected speech, and the way you connect your sounds and words play a huge role in overall intelligibility and interpreting meaning.
Finally, a lack of confidence may contribute to... fast speech, mumbling, low volume or poor projection.
The worst thing that happens with my non-native speakers is that they end up not speaking up for fear of making mistakes or feeling embarrassed. They often avoid certain words or hold themselves back from really contributing in a way they know they can.
You NEED to speak up. Confidently. It is part of your job to contribute your unique perspective. You are not just cheating yourself when you don't, you are cheating your team. PLUS, you don't get better at anything unless you just jump in and do it, make some mistakes (big deal), and consider how you can say it better the next time.
For native speakers, it often comes down to confidence or just plain old bad habits. Most people have not had the advantage of having voice and speech training, skills that can greatly impact a person's level of success, career trajectory, relationships, and overall well-being.
If you're tired of compromising on your communication skills, having to repeat yourself, or just not feeling confident about the way you're speaking and presenting yourself, change it. You can be a clear, confident communicator.
And I'll let you in on a secret: I think you can become a great communicator. I really believe that. And I believe that when more people become the communicators they are capable of being, the world becomes a better, healthier place. But back to you ;)...
You can join me!--And I hope you do ;) on
Monday 11/21/22 at 6:00 pm EST/ Link to register. *Mark your calendar.*
You'll walk away with greater clarity (get it?) on what you need to do to become a clearer, more easily understood and listened to speaker.
-If you can't make the live class, the recording will be available to you for four days, upon request. But I really hope you can make it live. Communication happens in the now, and you will get so much more out of it when you're present.
Drop me a note if you have any questions.
Take care. Speak up! Speak out! You'll be making the world a better place for everyone.
(This class is part of a subscription (very affordable!) but is FREE to first timers. More on that here.)
On 9/20/22, I spoke with the Eileen Fisher Org. on the topic of empowering women's voices. It is a bit of what I focus on in my 1-hour, 2-hour, 1-day, and 2-day workshops with women who are interested in exploring their voices and creating a voice that is strong, flexible, authentically expressive, and empowering. We can learn SO much about ourselves--and the world, through greater understanding of our voices. Our voices really do change the world!
9/24/22 11 am EST Online Class Join me! Recording available if you sign up.
Speaking With a Voice People LISTEN To
Think you're ready to give your speech or presentation? Lead your meeting?
You might be neglecting one of the most critical elements.
So many people toil over the words they're going to say-and yet neglect the very vehicle through which their message is conveyed.
🗣Your voice! This is despite the fact that studies show voice and the way you speak can be MORE THAN TWICE as influential as the actual words you say.
Your audience might not remember everything you said, but they'll remember the way you made them feel. And the impression you left.
Were you credible? Confident? Comfortable? Real and relatable?
The truth is, two people can deliver the exact same speech and elicit completely different responses.
One person speaks and their listeners think "Geez, they could have just sent that information out in an email."
Another person presents, and a memorable moment or experience is shared; ideas come to life for you in a new or different way, and you feel newly inspired.
💪 The second person brings value to the team or organization, which is rewarded through promotions, leadership positions, and raises.
Were you always a great speaker? Not necessarily. In fact, most of the great speakers and communicators I know are that way because they recognized the value it would bring to their personal lives and careers and so invested in and worked on these skills.
🤸♂️ You can be a dynamic, effective speaker, too! Your challenge is to not allow the memory of past not-so-optimal performances or discomfort you remember feeling dominate and cloud your rational mind, which understands that any skill can be learned and improved if addressed effectively and positively.
Don't let negative thoughts about speaking sabotage your belief in yourself and what you're capable of.
On Saturday September 24th, I'll be hosting a class on "Speaking With a Voice People Listen to."
It will address some of the common speaking issues my clients present with...
Including: breath-holding and freezing; weak voice; monotone; fast speech; fading at the ends of sentences... and others.
--If you plan on coming to the class, you can send me a note with your request to join and I will make sure your issue is covered.
If you attend, you also have the choice to participate, practice, and receive feedback-up to you.
*This class is part of a subscription class but is free for first-timers.
I really hope you can make it. What have you got to lose?!
Write "LINK" in your note and I'll send you the link for the class.
🔔🔔 Bells! Horns! 📯📯
*Class is taking a short break. Will return soon!
I am now offering a VERY AFFORDABLE subscription option for anyone interested in developing their speaking and voice skills. Two classes will be held each month online for a VERY affordable price, and if you have to miss a class, the recording will be made available to you.
It's an amazing opportunity you don't want to miss out on. You can learn more about the class here! This is something past clients and people on limited budgets have been requesting for a long time, and I'm SO happy to finally be doing it. You can drop in to see if the class is something you'd be interested in. The first one is on me! Just send me a note and write "online class" with the date, and I'll send you the link for the class.
I really hope to see you there!!
WOMEN: Join me!
On Tuesday, 9/13 at 12 pm when I join the Eileen Fisher Organization's Women Together to discuss "Empowering Women's Voices." You don't want to miss it! Sign up here.
Here is the recording for the June 23rd presentation. It will be available to watch for only 5 days. Watch it and tell me what you think! What would you like the next presentation or free group class to focus on?
Live event: Thursday, June 23 at 6:30 pm EST
with Participation and Q. & A.
Recording will be available for 2 days after and sent to registrants who can't attend the live class. However, I strongly encourage you to show up live. You will get a lot more out of the experience AND there will be some amazing "freebies" when you do!
Want to make your voice your super power?
You can. And you should.
In this FREE online session...
We'll start off with a basic lesson in how this "instrument" works, because, hey, some fundamentals are necessary if you want to play anything with any level of mastery.
I'll help you become aware of the major resonance chambers in your body and how you can make adjustments with these to shape just the sound you're looking for with your voice, depending on the job you want it to do!
Next, we'll talk about the mind-body-voice feedback loop, how tension distorts your sound, and how old stories get in the way of your ideal voice.
The I've had clients tell me "I don't sound confident because I don't FEEL confident." They've got it backwards. What people don't recognize is that your voice is the TOOL for CREATING confidence. More powerful than just power poses; by using voice, you are opening up the spaces WITHIN your body. You are connecting to your well-supported speaking breath (I'll show you how) and vibrating fully. These vibrations are felt internally and are experienced externally, by your listeners.
I also have clients who want a more flexible voice; one that is dynamic and expresses who you are and connects to the people who hear it, so that your message is heard and your impact is felt.
I truly believe that voice can be a major determinant to the quality and meaning of your life. By the end of our time together, I'll hope to have demonstrated and convinced you that your voice is a flexible instrument, and that when you recognize its capabilities, can become your most powerful asset, both in your personal and PROFESSIONAL life.
Agenda for the evening looks like this:
Sound good? It IS.
Join me. June 23, 2022 at 6:30 PM EST
You won't be disappointed.
Sign up here.
(If you register and can't make the live class, I will send you the replay, which will be available for two days.)
I had the absolute pleasure of talking with Dr. Andrea Wojnicki on her wonderful podcast "Talk about Talk." We discussed voice and the powerful role it plays in our professional and personal lives.
Andrea also asked me about ways to cultivate a healthy, authentic, dynamic, and credible voice that is appropriate to your professional role AND ways to develop a more flexible voice that expresses the various aspects of your personality that make you, you.
I hope you'll give it a listen! And tell me what you think!
What are your experiences with your voice, the relationship you have to it, and the ways it impacts your career and life?
Are you a non-native English speaker who is challenged by the "v" and "w" sounds?
The sounds v, w and p, b, f can get a little confusing. If you're Russian, German, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Spanish... these sounds can be tricky!
Join me in my FREE online class where I break these sounds down, answer any questions you have specific to your challenges, and you will get some great English practice in!
**If you would like a FREE practice activity (pdf and audio) for the "w" and "v" sounds, contact me here.
I had the pleasure of being a guest on Mamie Kanfer Stewart's terrific podcast The Modern Manager. Listen to our conversation about how to use your voice to communicate effectively and authentically at work.
Listen or read the key takeaways at https://themodernmanager.com/podcast-183/.
Below is the blog she wrote for the episode. You really should check her podcast and website out--she is a wonderful source of information and wisdom.
Maya Angelou put it perfectly when she said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." In this one sentence, Maya captures the importance of how we communicate. Yet very few people have been trained to use their voice effectively.
I was delighted to speak with Judith Weinman about executive presence and the role of voice in communication. In Judy's words, executive presence is about showing up clear in your message, effectively using your voice to guide others. As a speech, voice, and communications trainer who helps individuals and corporations cultivate personal and professional communication skills, this is a topic Judy knows a lot about. Here, she guides us in simple ways to channel our breath in order to show up at work in a clear, persuasive, and authentic way.
BREATHE TO BE AUTHENTIC
People care about authenticity. If the words that come out of your mouth don't seem to be connected with your body and all of who you are, people instinctively don't trust you as much. We need to come across as grounded. The best way to do that is through the breath. We need to relax and breathe. When we relax, we open up constrictions in the body, and allow the breath to come through our entire body.
Judy suggests creating visual imagery of your breath literally moving through your body from the gut. Think of where it may be constricted and where you're holding tension. Judy finds that many people hold tension in their tongue, and tend to speak from the throat instead of the chest. In order to sound and feel more powerful, we need to open up that space. To practice, take a deep breath and say a few words, keeping your throat open.
TONE IS EVERYTHING
Tone is primal for humans; we recognized tone and voice before we understood words and messages. Our brains read the tone and assign meaning to it. And if that tone contradicts the words, we trust the feeling conveyed by the tone. In this way, tone is thus more powerful for us than words.
In order to become more aware of your tone, consider feedback you receive from other people about how you speak. Pay attention to clues from how others respond to you to gauge how your tone is coming across. For example, if you end sentences on a high note, you may sound uncertain about what you're saying.
Managers need to develop a flexibility of voice, knowing which to use in different circumstances. You can practice this by trying different tones, such as authoritative or supportive, and noticing how it feels in your body to speak in that way.
We may put pressure on ourselves to speak fluidly, using perfect sentences, but that's counterproductive. Humans think in phrases and clauses. Perfect sentences that sound as if they were written are actually harder for us to comprehend orally. Instead, allow yourself the time to think by slowing down, and speaking naturally.
When we hold onto our breath, words tumble out quickly which can signify a lack of confidence or nerves. Instead, let the breath lead; make sure to pause, allow yourself to breathe, then say the next thought. In this way, the words you say also connect with your whole being.
One setting where pacing is particularly important is meetings. When you prepare adequately, you focus on gauging people's reactions rather than worrying about what you'll say. By paying attention to what they need clarification on and adapting your message as you go along, you're more likely to facilitate a productive conversation.
POWER POSES AND OTHER WAYS TO USE YOUR BODY
When we're nervous, we make ourselves physically smaller. Women especially tend to do this. It creates a feedback loop of how the body, breath, voice, and mind interact negatively with each other. That is why doing "power poses" to take up more room is one way of disrupting that unhelpful loop (even if they feel a little ridiculous.)
Judith suggests also being aware of opening up the chest rather than having it cave it. In addition, we can be aware of opening up the throat, loosening the jaw, and becoming aware of where we hold tension in the body. When we focus on what we can do to feel better within ourselves, we stop being as concerned with the outer response. This confidence comes across when we speak from this place.
SUPPORT YOUR TEAM IN BUILDING THEIR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
If you notice that some of your employees could use better communication skills, approach the subject delicately. Make sure the discussion comes from a supportive place of believing in their potential, and the success they could achieve if only they could communicate better. Be conscious that equity may be a factor; those who received a poor education or one that did not include speaking skills are often embarrassed to bring it up.
We worry so much about what we say and then disregard how much the way we say it impacts our team. In order to build trust, work on connecting your body with your breath. Take time to ground yourself so that you come across as authentic. And learn how to pace your words so that you speak in easily understood phrases rather than complex sentences or half-thoughts. Mindfulness of the body isn't just a nice concept. It's a way to bring us closer to our teams to be heard and respected.
--You can connect with Mamie in all of these places:
Take advantage of this new cost-effective way to get personalized feedback and instruction. Micro sessions enable you to record up to 2 minutes of your speech for review by Judith Weinman. She will listen to and analyze your recording-with or without video, and then reply with her own recording/video providing you detailed analysis and instruction on what you can do to improve. You can use any audio method you prefer, including Whatsapp, email, Voice memo, Audio Hijack, etc. and any video method-through your computer, Zoom, etc. You will hear back within 24 business hours (M-F).
Or you can send your text (parts of a presentation, your elevator pitch, common phrases you say, etc.), and I'll record them for you.
I may also offer ideas and suggestions for ways to make your presentation, story, or elevator pitch even better.
Micro sessions are perfect if you have a:
Number of Sessions/Cost
1 for $8 each
5 for $7 each
10 for $6 each
20 for $5 each
Survey: Let me know (in the message space): What are your greatest communication challenges at work? How do you deal with them? I'd love to learn from you and share your responses, along with my feedback, with others.
Speaking in a second... or third... language is different from speaking in your native tongue.
I once had a client who said, "The moment you open up your mouth to speak, all of your business is out in the street." What he meant is that our voices, as well as the way we speak, reveal volumes and create strong and immediate perceptions in the minds of our listeners. Signals are transmitted regarding... our background, education,...