To Master Accent Reduction here are two tips to aid your public speaking progress.
These will help you if you use them. They need to become part of your thinking. They need to become part of you if you are going to be successful at reducing your accent or even eliminate your accent.
One of the tips will result from others. One comes from within you. Both require mental dedication and changing the way we think.
Get Help to Master Accent Reduction
One challenge to accent reduction is that native speakers often will not help.
When you notice someone has a hard time understanding you, simply ask for their help. Not all will but the ones who do will be invaluable.
To help with the learning process, keep a small notebook of some kind with you at all times. Alternative, keep a MP3 that will allow you to record. It will need to have a built in recording mic.
What to do to Master Accent Reduction
When you notice someone does not understand what your saying, You can say, "Excuse me, I really want to learn to speak like you do. If you could help me say it more clearly I would be grateful." Most will appreciate that you are interested in learning to speak like a native.
You can also say, "I can see you don’t understand what I said. Could you please help with the correct pronunciation..." Or "If you could help me with how I could better express that..."
Then to master accent reduction, here is an important component. You need to either write it down or record it on your MP3 so that you have a reference to review later.
The more you hear it, the more you use it, the more you will be able to absorb it.
This is the key to Speechmastery if you want to master accent reduction. Hear it, practice it, learn it and it will be yours. A second aspect has to do with how you manage your thinking. Even though we have trillions of neural connections, don’t waste any on unneeded thoughts.
Master Accent Reduction by Focusing Your Mind
Focus on what you want to do, not on what you cannot do. Focusing on mistakes and failures is counter productive. Focus on where you want to go and not where you are or were.
Do Not Apologize
Do not apologize for not speaking clearly. Do not keep repeating I am not good with language or something similar. Do not keep repeating "please forgive my pronunciation..."
There is no need to apologize for not being able to speak like a native. This is especially true if you’re a student of the language. It will only serve to waste valuable ROM in your little gray box of your brain.
If you want to master accent reduction, your mental powers need to be focused on that process.
To give an apology is not wrong. However, when done too often can be annoying to some. After several apologies to the same person it has no meaning. So save them for when you say something really wrong or really bad.
The Reality Of Getting Help Reducing Accents
One student I coached was concerned that almost no one would help her or correct her. If you find this to be true, you are not alone. This is a universal problem.
In my travels to numerous countries this is always a challenge I face when trying to learn their language. It is further complicated when speaking in medical terms in the foreign language.
Once when introducing my self in the Spanish language as being a nurse (in-fa-maro) for a number of years, the audience broke out in a laugher. In their culture men are not nurses. They thought I was saying I was working at being sick (in-ferm-o) for many years.
Then their eyes got big when I went on to talk about a medical issue with the authority of my training. My accent was throwing my pronunciation off. My diction was also off for the Spanish language. During my rehearsal nobody told me.
Even in the US, when meeting people of different cultures and trying to learn their language they won’t correct my mistakes. Only when trying it out on someone who doesn’t know me is it possible to test the correctness of how I say the words.
I will never forget saying a few sentences in my best Spanish when in Columbia, South America only to have the person I was talking to say, "I’m sorry, but I don’t speak English." He spoke those English words like a native.
If you find many will not help, it is, in my experience, a universal problem. You are not alone in trying to master accent reduction.
Don't Lose the Accent
When it comes to losing the accent, my advice, don’t. They are one of those things that make us unique. They can be the icing on the cake of our personality.
As a waiter, I could tell which of the five burrows of New York City someone was from depending on their accent. I could even tell what part of upstate the people I served were from. Going West, it was possible to tell if they were from the Midwest, West, and even California.
Canadians and Southerners are the easiest to tell. Ah, but what part of the South?
One pharmaceutical representative who I talked to even knew from my accent that I was from Scranton, PA. Let your accent shine. It is part of who you are. Relish it and let others enjoy it.
Deal with the problem by learning proper pronunciation. Learn proper diction. Let your accent shine.
Side Note On Mastering Accent Reduction...
If you think it’s hard to master accent reduction, consider trying to learn the Xhosa language of the Bantu of South Africa.
They have a distinctive click that is part of the language. It is made by raising the tongue to the roof of the mouth and slapping it against the floor of the mouth resulting in a clicking sound.
The problem for you and me, they do this with out skipping a syllable. Try it yourself.
Accent Reduction, may not be your solution. Consider the alternatives. It may save you a lot of time and effort.