This past week I had the opportunity to be one of the mentors at a Job Fair put on by the Canadian Immigrant Magazine at the VPL in Vancouver, B.C. My expertise was soft skills in the workplace, but one of the main questions many people asked was, “How do I lose my accent?”
Many of us can agree that some foreign accents can be sexy, French being one of them. However, the majority of other accents such as Chinese, Indian, German can be a hindrance in the Canadian workplace.
Accents can hold one back not only in social settings, but more importantly in careers. Often in the workplace, there is the perception that an employee with a foreign accent may not be well educated or not familiar with the western culture.
And worst, if promoted to a higher position, such as a supervisor or manager, then staff members may or may not respect or follow orders making productivity and profitability decline.
But how does one lose or erase their accent? Well, there are many methods to lessen the impact of one’s accents, but it can be time consuming. Then are many schools that teach new immigrants how to sound more like Canadians.And I am sure they do an excellent job.
But if you do not want to spend lots of money or sit in a class, then here is one tip that works extremely well. I began using this process when I first started in radio broadcasting.
At times when I went on the air, due to nervousness, a trace of my Indian accent became noticeable. Accents were not acceptable twenty years ago, matter of fact, they still are not favorable even today in the western radio and television market.
Basic steps to reducing accent:
1. Place a soft-led pencil (horizontal) between across your lips and slight biting with your teeth.
2.Take a short paragraph and read for about 30 seconds
3.Immediately get rid of the pencil and read again the same paragraph
4. Repeat the procedure
You will notice the results immediately that your pronunciation is becoming much clearer. This simple procedure makes the tongue work harder to pronounce the English words. This concept works quite efficiently for other languages as well.
The key is to practice this every day for five minutes and within a very short time your pronunciation will improve immensely. I would highly recommend that you record your readings on a regular basis, and then go back later to monitor your improvement. You will be amazed!