A couple of weeks ago, I sent out a survey to learn what would help my current & past clients—driven international speakers of English who have taken my global-English speech (aka accent modification or accent reduction) training programs. Across the board, they said idioms and vocabulary. 3/4 said discussion/meeting participation; 2/3 said presentation delivery; 1/3 said networking chit-chat. Does any of this resonate with you?

Let’s talk idioms and vocabulary in English. I believe these are picked up best from context. I’m wary of lists of words. You might sit down to memorize a list of idioms, and this isn’t bad or harmful. It’s just questionable if it’s a good use of your time. I, and many  English language training specialists, believe that learning new vocabulary/idioms is best done in context. That is, seeing and/or hearing the idioms used in a specific situation (e.g., business negotiation meeting, chit-chatting at a cafe, etc.).

As for presentation delivery and meeting participation: To share and contribute your ideas clearly from the start in both presentations and discussions, communicate in spoken English with a spine: Stand tall.

When I say spine here, I’m not talking about confidence or 100% conviction (though this helps too!). I’m talking about consonant articulation. Consonants, generally speaking, are the spine of spoken English. HT Arthur Lessac. Consonants help the listeners perceive everything around them—the vowels, words, phrases and sentences.

Tips

  • Hold the word endings, or final consonants. Over articulating the word endings helps your listeners process the information. Also, this can help you slow down if you tend to speak quickly.
  • Articulate the medial consonants. Those in the middle of words. Like the spine, they help hold everything up.
  • Voice the voiced consonants. This helps carry the rhythm or music of spoken English.
  • Create a practice warm-up routine and make sure to practice daily, especially before a presentation or important meeting.

Not sure where to start?

Want to get started before the new year begins, but have limited time? CommuniClear Global is offering three December workshops. Each addresses and offers practice opportunities for the stand-tall consonants of spoken English:

If speaking in clearer English is a priority for you at this point in your professional life, join other global professionals in one or more of these workshops. These are a good starting point for any 2016 speech training program, but are by no means required. Should you decide to register for a December workshop, you would receive takeaways to help you jump in, prioritize where to start first, and get your English speaking brain in gear for 2016. 

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