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Speak with Confidence and Advance Your Career in Silicon Valley

Sandra McKcKnightSilicon Valley houses IT professionals from all over the world who speak English with an accent that may be keeping them from advancing in their career. As the owner of Voice Power Studios, I have worked to modify the Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Polish, Lebanese, Malaysian, French, and German, accents of my clients from Intel, Northrup Grumman, Microsoft, Caterpillar, Inc., and Computer Sciences Corporation.

Speaking clearly, concisely, and effectively with confidence is the key to unlocking many doors: in both business and personal relationships. In business you have technical presentations, technical overviews, sales presentations, stake holder meetings, teleconferences. The speaking opportunities increase as you advance in your company.

invisible wall
As you grow in your career, you need your co-workers, team members, senior executives, and clients to feel comfortable when you talk with them. This level of comfort comes from being easily understood and is vital to building the trust factor in business or personal relationships.

Today a Mandarin speaking client told me that people continually ask her to repeat herself and at first she thought that they wanted her to speak louder. It is hard for people to hear their own voice unless they record it and even then many people are surprised at how they sound. By the time, my client realized that her accent was the problem, the new acquaintance had already stopped interacting in the conversation and an invisible communication wall went up.

Most of us don’t want to admit that we don’t like to be bothered listening to not only heavily accented speech but also a whining, complaining, or nagging tone.Other offensive speaking patterns include a high-pitched or squeaky voice, a loud and grating voice, a mumbler, very fast talkers, a weak and wimpy voice, and a flat and monotone tone.

For further information on the influence your voice has on others, please take a look at a 2012 study by Quantified Impressions that was published in the Wall Street Journal. It was found that a person’s voice tone had two times more influence on the listener’s first impression than the message itself.  And for example in the same article it was reported that CEOs with lower-pitched voices made on average $187,000 more than their higher-pitched counterparts.

Someone stops listeningWhen someone stops listening, it is hard to sell an idea or to close a deal. On the part of my clients with accents, there is a feeling of embarrassment, frustration, and some have told me that they feel the listener is impatient, and/or prejudice towards them. In the business world having a heavy accent is often not mentioned, except by an aware manager in a performance review. However, it is acted upon in many subtle and not so subtle ways.

Having worked with many foreign speaking clients, they have told me that they are concerned that their fellow countrymen will not be told that their accent is a communication barrier that is holding them back from achieving the success, recognition and salary they deserve.

To me this accent modification issue is a simple fix. Accent modification is not that difficult for most people who speak English fluently. It takes awareness, focus and practice to improve your American Accent and after 3 to 4 months the persuasive effect of your new voice will speak for itself.

To that end, in the beginning of Aug, I will be in Silicon Valley, conducting a Speak with Confidence, and Advance Your Career workshop for the Silicon Valley Indian Professionals Association, If you are in the area and wish to register, go to their website, or contact me at Accent Reduction Consultation Analysis

To sign up for an accent reduction consultation with Sandra, Click Here.