Does Your Accent Cause Trouble?

Methods to reduce your accent and communicate more effectively.

Lisa B. Marshall

Ultimately, each person needs to decide if an accent is interfering with communication. Is it significantly impacting job performance? Your advancement? Are you avoiding conversations in your everyday life? Only you know the extent of the problem. If people ask you to repeat yourself so often that you’re frustrated or people focus more on your accent than they do on what you’re saying, then yes, it becomes important to learn how to communicate more clearly.

However, be warned: Changing an accent, especially when you’re an adult, is hard work. It takes dedication and lots of practice. Experts suggest 30-45 minutes of daily practice; that’s 30 to 40 minutes a day for at least six months to hear a difference in natural conversation. It’s not easy to do, but it is possible.

Some people refer to this as "accent modification" or "accent reduction." I like to think of it as accent acquisition; you’re learning a new accent, as an actor (or as my husband) did.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall
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