Perform Confidently: Communication & Practical Leadership

Fiona Kearns | UK 0734 151 3095 | IRL 01 653 5140

People can’t understand my accent!

Is your accent holding you back?

Are people asking you to repeat yourself a lot? Does it seem like people are just nodding and smiling and not getting what you’re actually saying?  Do you find it much more difficult to communicate by phone?

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Breaking down the Barriers

Of course, we all have an accent so an accent in itself is not the problem. What does it mean when people can’t understand your accent? Here are some some questions to ask?

  1. Are you speaking too fast?
  2. Are you enunciating your words fully?
  3. What words are you using?

Too fast

Do you know how fast you speak? Research tells that us 150 approx words per minute is about right. If you’re guilty of speaking too fast, have a think about why you’re doing it? Are you in a rush or stressed? Is it a bad habit?

Check-up: Record yourself to hear what you sound like and to know what pace you normally speak at? Tip: well, this is easy, practice slowing down and watch the results!

Not forming yours words

If you’re speaking too fast, it’ll be harder to form your words properly but if you speak at a good pace, you must enunciate your words properly. Speak out every single syllable and no trailing off at the end of sentences.

Tip: Practice speaking out loud and over-enunciating your words. Imagine you’re an actor on stage and you need to project every single letter and syllable to the last.

Localisms and Word Choice

In all your communication, you will need to consider what will work for the listener. What words will they understand? What emphasis is expected on words and letters and what ‘localisms’ will get your message across effectively. Ordinarily, you’ll avoid jargon but sometimes it can’t be avoided for example in the medical profession. So, it’s up to you to select the right words and consider what will need emphasis in order to be understood. It’s a standard or two beyond normal conversation.

Speak Up Confidently and Hold Yourself to a Higher Standard

In business, your clients need not to be fairly sure but certain. They need to be fully comfortable with what you’re saying. Clients have to be able to understand you or you will miss out.

Summary: Slow down, speak clearly and match your audience

Connected Resources

Psychology of Accents Video

Lisa B Marshall – I love her and  highly recommend her podcasts and books


This entry was posted on 3rd June 2015 by .

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