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7 hours ago

Can Your Accent Keep You from Getting the Job?

If you’ve interviewed for a job and been turned down even though it seemed like the perfect fit, you’ve probably wondered why you were passed over. Was there someone more qualified? Did they want someone younger, older, male, female or a person who met another criteria? You may have even questioned how you looked in your interview, if you came on too strong or not strong enough. You may have even wondered if your accent got in the way.


A person doesn’t have to be difficult to understand for an accent to be apparent. Just notice the differences in the way people speak from California to New York to Alabama. Every part of the US has some kind of accent. The same is true in the different areas of Canada, Britain and other countries. From country to country, from region to region, people have different tones to their voices. The question is can an accent influence a manager or employer on hiring you?


Are You Difficult to Understand?


One of the primary issues for people with heavy accents is that they may be more difficult to understand. If you’ve moved to a different part of the country and are applying for a position where you will deal with local customers, it may be a real concern for the employer as to how well you will interact with customers. Or more accurately, how well they will interact with you.


Customers who are in a hurry or are already upset do not want to deal with someone they can’t understand, whether it is a deep southern drawl or a northern nasal accent. If the employer has a hard time understanding what you say and asks you to repeat yourself, it may have an impact on whether you get hired or not.


The Nuances of Accents


Accents can also influence an emotional response. The view of someone as an outsider, someone not from the community, may cause the hiring manager to look at another candidate. While this is more often the case in small communities rather than large cities, it can play a role anywhere.

People often stereotype others because of their accents. Even though they may know that stereotypes are usually not accurate, it can still impact their decisions. They aren’t all negative. In fact, some accents can make you sound more refined or educated. Other people may see you as nice, easy-going or sincere because of your accent. On the other hand, they may assume you’re slow or uneducated based on your accent.


An accent influences people in the hiring process for good or bad. This is one reason people hire an accent reduction coach to help them change their accent so that it isn’t as apparent. If you’re concerned about your accent and if it is hindering your chances at getting a job, you may want to address the issue and even seek out help with an accent coach. At least, be aware of the impact your accent may have on your career.


Claudette Roche is a dialect coach in the Vero Beach, FL area.  She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives.  In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.

4 weeks ago

How to Use Humor in Speeches

If you receive feedback on your speeches, you may see comments like “material was too dry” or “material was factual but boring.” If you have a serious subject or a technical topic, it can be difficult to make your speeches interesting to your audience. Humor is one tool public speakers rely on, and it is one of the most effective ways of presenting material in a memorable way. Here is how to incorporate it into your speeches.


Know What is Funny to Your Audience


Humor is unique to each person. What one person finds funny, another person may find irritating or worse yet, offensive. The best way to avoid offending or annoying your audience is to know what will make them laugh.


First, think about the people in your audience. Consider the approximate age and gender. Know why they chose to hear you speak. For instance, many people attend conferences and seminars for work. Insider jokes or humorous stories relevant to the industry will be a hit.


Avoid Negative Humor


Certain topics are off-limits to all audiences in professional environments. Don’t make fun of your audience or tell off-color jokes. Don’t use subjects that spark emotion and opinion as the subjects of your jokes, such as religion, race or politics.


Don’t make the subject of your jokes about specific groups, such as men, women seniors or college students. Don’t tell “dumb blond” jokes, or you risk alienating some or all of your audience.

While it’s okay to use yourself as the focus of your jokes, do so in a positive way. You can tell the funny story about how you messed up a sale to show you understand what the audience is feeling, but don’t put yourself down just to be funny. Know the difference between having people laugh at you and with



Talk about What You Know


Make sure you make the subject of your jokes something you know a lot about. The jokes should be relevant to the subject of your speech, but if you use a general icebreaker, make sure it is something you’re familiar with.


Another important factor is to speak clearly to ensure your audience understands the entire joke or they may miss the punch line. People with heavy accents can learn how to speak more effectively by working with a speech reduction coach. They will learn how to enunciate better, so that everyone understands what they say. A joke can fall flat if the audience misses an important part of the story because they couldn’t understand what you said.


Finally, remember that humor isn’t the point of your speech. Use it to break up a heavy subject or to get the audience involved. But don’t let humor become your focus or take away from the purpose of your speech.


When handled correctly, humor can make you stand out as a speaker. Learn what it is, when to use it and how to reign it in when you speak, and you’ll receive rave reviews from your listeners.


Claudette Roche is a dialect coach in the Vero Beach, FL area.  She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives.  In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.

4 weeks ago

How to Overcome the Fear of Speaking in Public



The sweaty palms, the telltale warmth that creeps along your neck and reaches your cheeks, and the feeling of panic which starts in your stomach and works its way to your chest. These are all symptoms of the fear of speaking in public. Just the thought of standing in front of an audience can cause these signs to begin.


So, how do you overcome this fear if your job depends on public speaking? While it may never completely go away, you can learn how to deal with it and make your speeches without the trauma that usually accompanies them. Here are a few tips to help you begin overcoming this hurdle.


Before the Speech


For many who dread speaking in public, their symptoms of fear begin hours or even days before the speech. To help lessen the pain and panic that accompanies every thought of the impending speech, you can take a few steps.


Practice your speech. While some experts tell you that a speech that hasn’t been written word-for-word is the best, this option doesn’t work for those who are afraid to speak in public. Instead, write out your speech and memorize it. When you know what to say, it will lessen the fear or standing in front of people with no idea of what to say.


During this practice, focus on remembering what to say and speaking clearly. People with a heavy accent may even want to work with an accent reduction coach to help them enunciate better. As you focus on the practical aspects of the speech, you won’t worry as much about your other fears. You’ll feel more confident, knowing you are prepared.


During the Speech


Stand up and take a deep breath. Don’t start in the minute you get to the podium. Instead, just look out at your audience. As you begin your speech, you can move your focus to another point in the room if you want to avoid eye contact.


Remember what you learned from your business speech coach. Speak clearly and don’t be afraid to have notes in front of you. Right now, your goal isn’t to be the best speaker, but to get through the speech and overcome your fear. You can work on improving the mechanics later on.


After the Speech


Once the speech and other events are over and you’re alone, you can review your speech. Be honest but not too critical with yourself. What did you do right? What would you like to improve on? Start with the basics such as slowing down when you speak or speaking louder. Later on, you can make it a goal to add in a humorous story or make better eye contact.


The idea is to work on getting through the speeches successfully rather than becoming an award-winning speaker. As you become more comfortable being in front of a crowd, you can develop your skills to be more entertaining or interesting to your audience. You don’t have to let fear of speaking in public paralyze you or force you to pass by a job. You can learn how to overcome this fear and become a successful speaker.


Claudette Roche is an accent reduction in the Vero Beach, FL area.  She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives.  In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.

2 months ago

The Importance of Clear Written Communication in Business

The focus is often on verbal communication when training employees on the subject of communication in general. They are taught how to communicate when talking to someone in person or over the phone. There may even be a business speech coach who helps them improve enunciation. However, written communication is one of the most often used means of communicating with other people. It’s important to educate staff on the basics of providing clear written information.


The Difference in Written and Verbal Communication


The goal of all communication is the same: to present information or an idea to someone else. However, the methods vary, and often, so do the results. With verbal communication, you can use body language, vocal tone, and even sometimes facial expressions to relay your meaning. When you write or email someone, you only have your words to use which convey your message.


Sarcasm, humor and even anger may not be relayed as easily with the written word. Though popular tags, such as LOL, make it easier to clarify the meaning behind your words, misunderstandings are far more prevalent using this method than with clear verbal communication. You also don’t get the immediate feedback as you do when speaking over the phone or in person. Even silence conveys the idea that someone either doesn’t understand what you said or doesn’t agree.


How to Be Clear in Written Communication


When you want to learn how to speak to someone clearly in person or over the phone, you can hire a speech coach to teach you how to speak clearly. To communicate clearly with the written word, you must learn through other means. Here are a few tips to help you in creating written communication with customers, employees and outside vendors:

·         Know what you want to say before you begin writing

·         Keep your message simple and as short as possible

·         Break up text into short sentences and paragraphs; use bullet points

·         Keep the focus on the person you are writing to

·         Summarize what you want the other person to do at the end of your message

·         Edit your message before sending

·         Avoid using slang terms or language the other person may not be familiar with

Much like with verbal communication, you should think about the other person when you write your message. Imagine how they will understand what you are saying. While you won’t have to deal with an accent when you are writing which can lead to misunderstandings, you do have to think about the words you say. If English isn’t their native language, they may mistake words you use for a different meaning. Avoid using large words or complicated terms.


From handwritten notes to emails to online chats and even to formal business letters, written communication is still one of the primary ways people speak to each other in the business world. This is a skill that must not be overlooked, especially as more companies work globally with customers and staff.


Claudette Roche is a accent training in the VeroBeach, FL area. She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives.  In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.


2 months ago

Learn How to Negotiate More Effectively

Whether you are a job applicant trying to get an acceptable salary, a sales person trying to win over a client or a business owner setting up a contract with a vendor, negotiating is a skill you must have to get the results you want. If you aren’t an effective negotiator, you will be at the mercy of the other person. Fortunately, this is a skill which can be developed.


Know Your Desired Outcome


Many people enter negotiations without a clear goal. They aren’t sure what they want or even what they will accept. Before you start any negotiations with the other party, know what you hope the end result will be and your cut-off point.


For example, say you are negotiating a salary with an employer who has just offered you a job. You would like to make $40,000 per year, so that is your desired result. Since negotiating is all about give and take, you also need to know the lowest amount you will accept. In this instance, you are willing to go as low as $30,000. This means your area for negotiations is between the two amounts.


Back Your Request with Facts


If you want to get your desired salary, you must show why you deserve it. Perhaps that is the industry standard or you have more skills or education than the average person in this position. You must be able to prove your side of the negotiation.

The same holds true when trying to win over a new customer. You must be able to prove why your product or service is better. You cannot hope to win them over to your side without using logic and sound reasoning.


Be Clear


Whether you are negotiating price with a customer or a contract with a business partner, you must be

clear on your terms. This includes stating everything in simple terms so there is no misunderstanding and speaking clearly so they can understand what you’re saying.


In today’s global economy, it’s not uncommon to be working with people from all over the world. The difference in accents and speech patterns as well as the words used make it more difficult to be understood. If you do a lot of negotiating, you may want to hire an accent reduction coach to help you learn to enunciate more clearly in your business meetings.


It also helps to speak in short sentences where you get to the point. While some negotiators use long speeches and complicated words to confuse the other person, this doesn’t usually lead to the results you want. You don’t want to just win at the actual negotiation, you want the other person to be satisfied with the outcome for a successful long-term relationship.


Negotiating is a skill anyone can learn. From hiring a business speech coach to writing down your goals, you can learn how to become an effective negotiator who gets the results they want. This is a life skill as well as one that will benefit you in any business.


Claudette Roche is a dialect coach in the VeroBeach, FL area. She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives.  In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.

3 months ago

Communication Skills Needed for Business

Not everyone is skilled at communication. Speaking to people doesn’t come naturally for every person. However, in the business world it becomes a necessity. Here are some skills you’ll want to work on to ensure effective communication within your department or location.




One thing never changes in any communication scenario, listening is an important part. People are more willing to work with you when they feel they’re being heard. They will share their feelings and opinions and work towards a resolution when they know the other person has taken the time to listen.


To lean this skill, you must develop the ability to focus your attention on the other person. This means clearing your mind of other distractions and not thinking about what you want to say. A good way to let the other party know you listened is by rephrasing what they just said.


Speak Clearly


In any situation, you must speak clearly to be understood. This includes speaking up, enunciating words and not speaking too fast. Many times, you’ll benefit from a speech accent coach because they can teach you how to reduce your accent to be clearer in your speech.


Also called an accent reduction coach, this person teaches you how to form sounds that will reduce the impact of an accent. The result is that others will be able to understand what you’re saying.


Ask Questions


If you don’t understand something, ask questions until you’re clear on what was said. While this is a good practice in any relationship, it’s essential in business. Misunderstandings often result in loss of productivity and can cost a business money.


People are afraid to ask questions because they don’t want to be seen as dumb or inept. What they fail to realize is that people will see them as more inept if they don’t understand how to follow directions and end up doing a project incorrectly.


Avoid Letting Emotions Take Control


Humans are emotional, but they cannot let these feelings direct their attitudes in business. They will deal with many emotional people, but they must remain professional and calm. This helps the communication process because the other person is more likely to calm down and you can work on a resolution. This is most often seen in customer service with angry callers. If the agent is able to stay calm and not rise to the conflict, the issue may be resolved.


While most people focus on negative emotions such as anger, fear, sadness and hurt, positive emotions can also cause issues. A person can be so excited or happy about a situation they fail to hear important information about it. They may go on a wrong path because they didn’t pay attention to instructions.


Learn these skills to help you with communication in business. Once you’ve developed the traits of a good communicator, you’ll notice that people listen to you and work gets done. You’ll reduce mistakes and improve efficiency. Every business requires good communication to be effective and successful.


Claudette Roche is a dialect coach in the VeroBeach, FL area. She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives.  In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.

3 months ago

How Effective is Your Company with Business Communication?

Communication is at the core of every company’s success. Whether it’s communicating with employees, customers or vendors, it’s an essential component for any organization. It doesn’t matter if you use email, instant messaging, phone calls or group meetings, your company must succeed with this skill for long-term success. Furthermore, each employee must be working on improving their communication skills. Here are some indicators you can use to gauge your company’s strengths in this area.


1. Trust in the Organization


Effective communication builds trust between the two parties. Customers will trust your service or product while employees will trust your promises. Clear communication is essential for this characteristic to be developed. You must create concise messages in a way that the other person understands. To do this, you need to use words familiar to them, not talk down to them, and speak clearly in verbal communication.


Ask a business accent coach why learning to speak clearly is so important, and they’ll tell you it is to establish trust. A person doesn’t trust someone they don’t understand. A clear message is essential to effective communication.


2. Create an Atmosphere of Collaboration


Every voice must be heard, and every opinion valued. If this isn’t the attitude of your company, you’ll inhibit communication. When employees don’t feel valued or customers fail to be understood, it impacts efficiency and the growth of the company. For example, when a customer calls in with a complaint, they should feel heard and understood. It’s important to ask them how a resolution can be achieved and listen to their ideas.


The same concept is true when working to create new products or services. Listen to employees and customers about what they would like to see happen. Not only will this encourage them to continue speaking up, it can result in a better idea than what the experts provide.


3. Communicate with Tact


Avoid certain word choices that carry a negative connotation even if they aren’t meant that way. This is true in any scenario but especially when working with people from another culture. Certain words and phrases may offend even if you don’t intend to be abrasive. Companies that work with a business speech coach learn how to speak without being arrogant or offensive when talking with people around the world.


4. Be Specific


Vague communication can cause a lot of damage in an organization. It’s important that everything be stated rather than implied. Otherwise, you risk a misunderstanding that can have dire consequences. Never assume anyone knows your intentions. Instead, spell it out in great detail. Furthermore, write everything down so everyone can go back and review it for clarity. It also provides a basis for future situations that are similar.


Being effective in your communication will help your business be more efficient and successful for the long term. Learn the key components to good communication and ensure your staff know them as well. Practice them, review them and then evaluate the results.


Claudette Roche is a dialect coach in the VeroBeach, FL area. She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives.  In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.

3 months ago

Teaching Your Employees about Business Communication

One of the biggest issues with businesses today is poor customer service. This problem is often caused by lack of communication or miscommunication. To avoid these situations, you must work to train your employees on how to communicate with the people they must interact with.


Communication with Co-workers


As a business owner, you need to establish certain procedures for how your employees communicate with each other. This includes timelines for emailed responses or following up on out-of-office replies. These procedures should be provided all new employees and reviewed periodically.


If an employee has a problem communicating with a co-worker because of personality difference or other issues, you must address these situations. In some cases, a business communication coach may help if the problem is with a language barrier. In other instances, it is simply a matter of two people who can’t get along. You must either help them overcome this problem or find another solution to keep the department or company running efficiently.


Communication with Customers


Not everyone knows how to communicate with customers, even when it seems like “common-sense” situations. Don’t assume your employees know the right answer in any situation. Instead, train them on your expectations and supervise them to ensure they are following guidelines.


If language or accents are a problem, you may need to hire a business accent coach to work with staff. They can help them learn how to enunciate clearly so they can be understood.


One method of training staff on customer interaction is role play. You can have one person pretend to be a customer and another one enact the part of the employee. This is often a fun method of teaching serious truths. Everyone likes the chance to be the difficult customer, but it provides the opportunity to help employees figure out solutions to the various situations they face in their jobs.


Reward Staff for Good Communication


When you reward your staff for exceptional performance based on good communication, you reinforce positive behaviors. This also sets clear guidelines for what is expected from everyone. Many telecommunications companies provide rewards for best overall customer service or for the most issues resolved.


Give out prizes for the person who gets the most positive feedback from customers or provide a gift card anytime a customer fills out a survey with five stars. These are all methods in use for real companies. The key is to find a process that works for your organization.


At the same time, you must provide information to help your staff provide good communication to those they work with. Annual evaluations are a great time to discuss any issues and get feedback from your employees.


You will also find seminars or business coaches who hold conferences and classes with companies. It may be wise to invest in these resources if communication is an issue in your business. You’ll quickly see the results when customers express happiness at the change in their interactions with your company.


Claudette Roche is a dialect coach in the VeroBeach, FL area. She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives.  In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.

4 months ago

Become an Authority in Your Industry by Hosting Seminars

If you want to become a recognized expert in your industry, you must develop a reputation that shows you know what you’re talking about. One way to accomplish this goal is by hosting informational seminars.


Be an Expert


You don’t have to know more than everyone else, but you do have more knowledge than many others. Put that knowledge to use by hosting a seminar or conference where you speak on a topic related to your field.


Don’t be intimidated, thinking others have more experience or knowledge than you. Just remember, no one has had your exact experiences or seen things through your eyes. You have something of value to tell others no matter how long you’ve been in business. If you’ve learned lessons the hard way or struggled to get where you are, you can impart that knowledge to others who are in the same place you were when you started out.


Work with Other Experts


Network with others in your industry. Instead of looking them as competition, consider them resources you can use. Host a seminar together, which will benefit both of you.


You don’t have to be the sole speaker at one of these seminars. Consider other business owners and executives who are in a complementary business, and ask them to join you. For instance, if you have a wellness spa, you could have a company that sells beauty products be a sponsor or co-host.


Learn How to Speak Well


Develop your speaking skills by working with a business speech coach. They can help you learn how to project your words and speak with confidence. As you book more speaking engagements, you will build more confidence in your own abilities. As you’ve heard before, “practice makes perfect.” Even if you never get totally comfortable with speaking in public, you will become more adept at the task.


Don’t let an accent or certain speech patterns prevent you from speaking in front of others. A speech coach can teach you how to overcome those obstacles, and you can learn how to speak clearly where you are easily understood.


Become a Guest Speaker


Broaden your base of followers by offering to speak at other events. You’ll meet a whole new audience who may never have heard of you, but who will become loyal followers. This increases the level of exposure you have for your own events.


When you are seen as an authority in your field, people will go to you for answers. They will then turn to your company when they need the products or services you have to offer. These same people will recommend you to their friends who need the same help.


Once you develop your reputation as an expert in your industry, you will never have the same struggle bringing in new clients or customers again. You’ll be seen as a trusted resource, the person others turn to when they need to know what to do or have to buy a solution to their problems.


Claudette Roche is a dialect coach who teaches accent reduction in the Los Angeles area.  She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives.  In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.

4 months ago

3 Tips to Help Your Speeches Stand Out

If you’ve been asked to speak at an event, congratulations. It’s an honor to be considered enough of an expert to be asked to share your knowledge. However, not all speeches will yield the same results. You’ve seen speakers who drone on and on, putting the audience to sleep. If you want to avoid this problem, follow these tips.


Involve People’s Senses


You’ve probably heard the saying that people remember part of what they hear, more of what they see and even more of what they see and hear. The more senses you can involve in your speech, the more memorable you will be. Include a power point presentation or charts for your most important points.


If you can find ways to incorporate smell, taste and touch, people won’t forget about your speech. In fact, they may even be talking about it for weeks. For instance, you can compare your topic to a food or texture, which will help people remember the details. Get creative to ensure people have something they easily recognize to associate with a new word or concept. This will help them understand what you’re saying, remember the topic and find it interesting.


Tell a Story


No matter what topic you’re discussing, it will be more memorable if you can make it personal. Tell a story that relates to the topic and brings home the overall point of your speech. You may think some topics have no possible story, but you can always find something to incorporate. Win bonus points if you make the story funny or poignant.


When you tell the story is also important. Open with one to capture your audience’s attention early. Close with a story to leave a lasting impression and as a way to wrap up the point to the entire speech. Another option is to break up a boring topic by telling a story somewhere in the middle at a particularly serious point.


Speak Clearly


No matter how interesting the subject you’re presenting, how fabulous the props or how funny the stories you tell, your speech won’t captivate anyone if they can’t understand you. People who get nervous when speaking have a tendency to speed up their speech, which makes it more difficult to be more understood.


Instead, slow down and form all of your words clearly. Avoid slang and even contractions to ensure every word is clearly spoken. If you have a strong accent or trouble using certain words, you can hire a speech coach to help you learn to enunciate better. A business speech coach trains you to speak your words correctly and to reduce your accent.


Being a public speaker doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but many people have to speak in front of an audience for work or other reasons. By following these tips and learning how to make a speech more interesting and memorable, even the most reticent person can learn to be a good speaker that others enjoy listening to.


Claudette Roche is a dialect coach who teaches accent reduction in the Los Angeles area.  She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives.  In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.