Last week, I talked about how if you’re needing to improve your English speaking skills over the next 2-3 months, make sure to ask yourself the right questions, use the appropriate resources, and make the time. Now I’d like to add: Place great value in giving and receiving peer feedback.

Small Groups Programs Rock

The folks I typically work with are smart, ambitious global professionals who have a lot to share and give to the people they serve. They come to me because English is not their first language (or the language they used that often when growing up). And now they need to improve their English speaking skills.

When they email me, they ask about my 1-on-1 training/coaching programs. They prefer the 1-on-1 attention from an expert.

For those on extremely tight schedules and who travel frequently, this arrangement makes sense. I’m able to accommodate their schedules. And they, as a result, get my full attention at a time that simply works for them.

There is one assumption in some of the initial emails, however, that I would like to challenge. That is, the assumption that if you work 1-on-1 with me (or someone else), this will speed up the speech training process.

Feedback is harder to give than to receive when it comes to accent modification & English pronunciation training

Applying the features or elements of an English pronunciation or accent modification program requires some pretty high level attention if you think about it. There’s the mechanics of producing a specific sound. And this ties into the production of timing & rhythm (stress & intonation). And THEN applying this into real-time speech takes things to another level. When focusing your attention on the information in a meeting or presentation, is it easy to continue also paying attention to your speech habits?

I want to argue that if you both practice a specific speech feature (keep it specific!) and actively evaluate another speaker’s use of this feature, this level of demand on your English speaking brain could actually speed up the training process. This is requiring you to be much more actively engaged.

Peer Feedback

I’m a big fan of training clients to steadily evaluate their own speech AND the speech of other people. Perhaps that of

  • A colleague
  • A mentor
  • A TEDTalk speaker
  • A YouTube speaker
  • An actor
  • A news anchor person (radio, tv, podcast)
  • Etc.

I’d like to add “peer” to this list. That is, another person who’s also working on their spoken-English communication skills. On their English pronunciation or accent.

As long as the speech features are kept specific and the feedback exchange is kept structured, a practice-smart routine can be maintained.

Need a little help?

Have a local or remote team who might benefit from speaking a little more clearly in spoken English? Drop me a line (i.e., email me) or fill out the form below so that we can set up a time to talk.

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