Celebrating Friendship in Tumultuous Times

 

Our world has suffered much heartache this year... perhaps not more than any other time in the history of humanity, but with news available to us nearly instantaneously from around the globe, it seems that way. Violence and suffering weighs heavily on the minds of all people who hope and pray for peace, health, and safety.

 

 

Through my American pronunciation instruction, I've been lucky enough to work with wonderful individuals from all over the world... people who also long for peace between all nations.

It starts with US – you and I, choosing to think the best of one another, in friendship!

Please accept these heartfelt wishes of friendship and love in honor of the International Day of Friendship on July 30. To everyone reading this around the world, may we all continue be friends to each other in our online interactions and those around us in our daily lives, the whole year through.

Please share your own message of friendship and peace on...

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Time to Speak Up! Caring About Your Communication

 

Tell me if this resonates with you: you're comfortable in your workplace when it requires reading emails and going through written material... or writing to co-workers and jotting down notes.

But when needing to speak out loud to a co-worker, or asked to speak up at a meeting, you say as little as possible.

You've been misunderstood so many times, it's just easier to stay quiet.

Sound familiar?

 

 

If you learned English outside the U.S., you probably spent years structuring sentences, memorizing vocabulary, and listening to English. You excelled in reading and writing, and by all measures became fluent in the English language.

You might have been surprised, then, when you came to America as a scientist, researcher, or engineer, and found that others had trouble understanding you!

Accustomed to learning in a passive way rather than an active one, and without an emphasis on speaking, you prefer to listen instead of engage in conversations. You're...

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We Need Each Other! Reduce Your Accent through Community

I'm truly excited this month to be sharing with you how interacting with those around you is a major factor in reducing your accent. A major research focus for American Speech­Language­Hearing Association (ASHA) has been the overuse of technology and its effect on language and hearing development, specifically among children.

In a 2015 ASHA survey of 1,000 parents:

• 52% expressed concern that technology negatively impacts the quality of their conversations with their children

• 54% say they have fewer conversations with their children because of technology

• 52% are concerned that misuse of technology is harming their children's speech and language skills.

How does this translate to YOU as an adult professional?

As you work to reduce your accent, and as a professional who is probably using a substantial amount of technology at work and at home, I would ask this question...

 

 

Speech-­language experts...

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Siri® Understands Me Now: How Accent Reduction Aids in the Use of Voice-Recognition Technology

Most of us recognize the voice of Siri®, the iPhone’s voice - assisted technology. But Siri® doesn’t recognize the pronunciation of everyone who attempts to communicate with her. Apple says that she handles 1 billion voice requests per week, but many non-native speakers have reverted back to text-based requests after Siri® failed to grasp what they were asking.

As an accent reduction trainer, I received a flood of new inquiries from internationals in the US when Siri® was first released. People who had thought for years that their pronunciation was good enough were suddenly faced with the fact that this new technology told them otherwise.

Granted, the technology itself is partly to blame. As analyst Jeff Kagan reported in this Fortune article, “[These technologies] are still in their very early growth." The software doesn't get everything right, but it is constantly improving.

 

 

And...

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Professional Presence: Finding Your Voice

 

Picture yourself in this everyday office scenario:

The staff is gathered for a presentation on a new company initiative.

The presenter passes out their information, and in a monotone fashion proceeds to plod through the slideshow presentation on the topic with seemingly little enthusiasm.

At the end they announce, “We really want everyone to get excited about this.”

Are you excited?

Have you bought into your company's new project?

Given the lackluster presentation, probably not!

 

Maybe this presenter really is excited about the initiative, but they don't know how to convey that to others... or don't even realize how their demeanor is being perceived by everyone in the room.

And what would the ramifications be if this had been a pitch to a client, or prospective investors?

The non-verbal communication in this situation was the difference between increased morale at the launching of a new project, and just another boring meeting!

 

The 7 Percent...

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