Focus on Accent, Articulation and Performance to Speak Properly

We do not need to completely change our accents in order to speak properly. It is possible to speak in a more refined and sophisticated way by making small adjustments to the content, articulation and performance of speech.

Speech Content – your speech should be timelessly elegant like a little black dress. This means that you avoid trendy words, slang and local expressions because this kind of language does not travel well and dates very quickly.

Articulation – you should take care to enunciate clearly. To do this it is important that you move your mouth sufficiently without mumbling your words.

Accent – you don’t need to change your whole accent in order to give the impression of speaking properly. However, you can target key sounds in your accent that are perceived to be ‘strong’. To do this you first research the features of your accent – find out what sounds you say differently. You may find that there are just a couple of sounds that you don’t like in your pronunciation, which you want to change. Once you have identified the sounds that you don’t like in your pronunciation you can focus your attention on changing the way you say these sounds specifically. This will soften your accent, rather than change it completely.

Speech Performance – you should ‘own your voice’. When you own your voice it means that you speak in a way that is appropriate for the situation; you are neither too quiet nor too loud. You also speak at a comfortable pace so that other people can understand you. The ability to do this reflects that you have confidence in yourself and that you deserve to be listened to.

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Jade Joddle is an accent trainer and English teacher. She teaches her non-native speaker clients to Speak Well in English so that they thrive and succeed.


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