Sunday, July 31, 2011

High Impact Presentations; Overcoming the Accent Handicap: Other Easy Strategies and Tactics for Foreign-borns

Yesterday’s post focused on one of the tactics I use in the case of words that are extremely relevant to my presentations but which are sometimes misunderstood or are unintelligible to some in the audience because of my enunciation (words such as “thrust”).

Of course, as discussed in previous blog posts, foreign-borns have several other strategies and tactics in their arsenal to minimize the loss of communication that can result because of an accent. Some of these preemptive actions:

1. Speaking slower, especially at the beginning of a conversation or presentation.
2. Clearly enunciating every syllable and consonant because that is unquestionably the most effective antidote to an accent.
3. Maintaining a list of “troublesome” words—words that pose difficulty for your audiences because of the way you pronounce them—and developing a corresponding list of alternate words. [For instance, a few years ago, when I found people were having difficulty with my enunciation of “burp,” I immediately switched to saying “belch” instead.]
4. As another alternative to dealing with your list of “troublesome” words, especially while delivering presentations, having that word appear in print on a PowerPoint slide just as you are about to utter it in front of that audience for the first time.
5. Each time you say a word that you believe may not be fully understood by everyone in the audience, immediately following-up with a synonym or synonymous phrase.

For a fuller discussion of the above five tips, I would urge you to visit my blog post of June 24, 2010.

© Copyright 2011 V. J. Singal

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