English is a language that’s spoken all over the world. Some people may speak English with a drop dead gorgeous voice, but that’s no good if people can’t understand the words they’re saying. And it’s no good having perfectly clear diction and saying the words clearly in English, when no one can hear you because your voice isn’t audible. It’s also no good having a wonderful voice and speaking English with perfect diction when the words you’re saying are vapid and empty and in no way connect with your thoughts.
Here at Max Your Voice we give attention to the whole of your vocal profile – meaning all the aspects of your voice and speech that create the overall sound. Many features are included in the vocal profile.
One of the more important aspects of getting some speakers of English as a second language to express themselves more clearly in English is rhythm. Every language, including English, has its own rhythm – some languages acquire a very marked rhythm where words are strongly stressed within groups. In most languages the words are organised so that the rhythmic stress falls on the most important words, i.e. the key words expressing the content of what we’re saying.
However, a problem shared by many who do not speak English as a first language is that they are tempted to use the rhythmic stress of their own language when they are expressing themselves in English. Such rhythms may make the English language more comfortable for them when transferring their thoughts into speech. The rhythm can work well when the stress falls on the nouns or keywords. The problem arises when the stress is made on the personal pronouns – ‘his’, ‘her’, ‘their’, ‘its’ or on the definite article ‘the’ or the indefinite articles ‘a’ or ‘an’.
When this happens, the listener has to decipher the key messages in the speech. It can give diverse messages to the listener and these can often be humorous. Everyone likes to laugh, but when you’re at the centre of the joke and the joke is about the way you communicate, it can be hurtful and disruptive to your confidence and progress. More seriously, the messages you put across can also be damaging. The worst possible message that wrongly applied stress can send during diplomatic business meetings, for example, is: “I don’t really want you to understand what I’m saying, so I’m stressing all the words that aren’t important to distract you from those that are.”
Max Your Voice takes account of your entire vocal profile. The importance for communication of all the different aspects of your voice and speech and the way it’s developed and the way you use it – all of these are addressed in all voice and speech training given at Max Your Voice.
Our Speak English Clearly course was developed over 2 years with the help of an Educational Psychologist. It was tested with 30 different clients who shared 15 different languages. While the structure of the course remains the same as when it was first launched, the Speak English Clearly course has developed along with the changes and influences to spoken English over the last 8 years.
For more information on our in-house courses email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44(0)20 85422777