Non-Native English Speaker? Use this Easy Technique to be Understood Better

One of the most common challenges I hear from non-native English speakers is they are concerned about their accent.

In reality, with very few exceptions, if you are a fluent English speaker, most people can probably understand you just fine. Nobody cares about the accent.

One of the most charismatic speakers I’ve seen had a very thick accent. He was a friend of mine from Hong Kong. His accent didn’t matter because he always had strong, positive energy whenever he got in front of the group.

Almost everyone I’ve heard express concern about their accent is much more intelligible than my friend was. But the difference was he had the confidence and energy, and they do not.

Here is one thing you can do to improve your presentation skills immediately. Not only will it increase your confidence and make you feel more comfortable in front of the crowd, but it will also help others to understand you much better:

Pronounce every single sound.

That’s it. Every word that you say, make sure to pronounce every sound in that word.

For native speakers, we can trail off or mash words together or drop the endings and our fellow native speakers will understand us regardless.

But in the case of foreign speakers, your accent and style of emphasis makes it harder to grasp.

(For example, the word “restaurant” in English is pronounced REST-au-rant, with emphasis on the first syllable. But a foreigner might say rest-AU-rant, stressing the second syllable. If this person is speaking quickly, it makes that word harder to understand.)

This problem is almost completely eliminated by making the effort to pronounce every single sound, in every single word that you utter.

Taking the extra micro-second to pronounce every sound for every word also forces you to slow down. Slowing down is something most people who struggle with speaking skills need to practice.

Slowing down makes it that much easier for others to understand.¬†And it also helps you maintain a steady speaking pace–that is, not too fast and not too slow.

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