What on Earth is an Accent Reduction Coach?

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Every day thousands of people are being overlooked for the employment opportunities they totally deserve, and why? Yes, because of their heavy accents. Who would be the best person to help immigrants who face similar challenges?

A few weeks ago we had a great chat with Daniel Wolfson, Accent Reduction Coach, the Founder and Managing Consultant at the Pronunciation School.

1. Can you please tell us about Pronunciation School, what kind of services/ training do you provide?

Pronunciation School is an accent and pronunciation training school that aims to erase the difference between English as a second language speakers and native English speakers.

We do this by rigorously training people to speak with a neutral accent. We have identified the specific features of native speaker speech and developed a method of simply and effectively making them part of our clientele’s speech. We offer this training as 1-1, and group courses with a limited number of people for the most effective learning experience. We are about to launch a new intensive two-weekend program to radically transform speech in the shortest most exciting time possible, and an online course is coming soon!

2. How did you come up with this idea, what’s the story behind it?

Pronunciation School was developed out of demand. After years of teaching English, more and more people asked and begged me to help them to change their accent. It was honestly not something I considered until the demand became undeniable and I observed how important it was to people.

So I began to look into accent change and pronunciation and soon realised that this was very underdeveloped. I tried following books and theory and but I found it terribly ineffective. So I had no choice but to develop a revolutionary method. I didn’t want to fail the people that had so vulnerably expressed their needs to me.

3. Tell us a bit about your clientele, who are the people you help?

Our clientele are typically professionals who are smart, motivated to succeed and eager to overcome the final barrier in their way.
Often they are perceived with prejudice due to an unconscious bias that native speakers have when they hear a strong accent or imperfect speech. They want to succeed in their career but their confidence has been affected by their speech. Sometimes they do not perfectly understand native speakers and this holds back their communication and ability to have exceptional interpersonal skills that can persuade others. Many are also inhibited socially as they feel they cannot fully express themselves, and therefore people can not fully see or understand them.

4. What are the benefits of your services for them?

After our training, our clients experience a huge boost in confidence. They love their voices and are not afraid to use them. They can now understand the laziest talking native speaker and know all the features of native speaker accents and how to reproduce them. This gives an amazing sense of achievement and confidence.

Our clientele can speak much faster and still be clear, and speaking becomes as easy as breathing. It is absolutely effortless. They receive less prejudice and if they do receive prejudice then they have the confidence in their ability to not be affected by it. Our clientele go on to pass exams, get promotions and lead with confidence.

5. How do you help people whose command of English is not perfect?

Almost every speaker of English as a second language does not have perfect English. This is because they can not hear it properly. When their listening skills are great they can learn much much MUCH faster.

When you only recognise 50% of the words in a phrase because the native speaker is speaking so fast and with pronunciation that you don’t know, then you are only exposed to 50% of the language and that is then your limit to learn.
When you can hear and understand everything then it will soon become part of your own speech. For example, most people never learn to use prepositions or articles correctly in English simply because they can’t hear them in a fast sentence. We teach clients to recognise every sound no matter how fast or lazily it is uttered.

6. The most interesting case, success story?

My most interesting case is a successful entrepreneur who runs her own company. Her English is excellent and her native accent is the last barrier. She has staff who are Australian born, and she knows that the only thing they have as an advantage over her is their native style speech and accent.

She came to me desperate to get passed this limitation so she can feel unselfconscious, command respect and never be looked down or pitied.
As she started to change her speech her staff told her not to change her accent as they like her ‘cute’ accent. But my client did not want to be seen as cute, or judged by her accent at all, and she knew that they wanted to keep her with her language limitation as they had nothing else to feel superior about.

My client worked hard with me and is now feeling and sounding amazing. I’ll include a link to a video here from early in her training where she expresses what it feels like to be reaching her goal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkK7WGBPtok&feature=youtu.be

7. What would be your advice in general to non-native speakers, how can they work on their accent? Any tips?

If you want to develop your accent then you must develop your ear.
Listening is the key. You must record your voice and listen to it carefully. Then listen to a recording of a native speaker and notice the differences. If you listen hard you will notice how soft the consonants are. This is because native English speech is all about the flow. Consonants block the flow. Soften your consonants and imitate the vowels. But first, you must train your ear!

You can book your free accent assessment here

Good luck!