Accent training

Practice is the best of all instructors.

– Publilius Syrus

Improving your English pronunciation skills is possible. Continuing from my previous post, here are more tips on how you can turn practice into a daily habit.

Commit not to quit

Habits don’t form in a day. Making a new routine will take some effort at first. There is a false theory that it only takes about 21 days to form a new habit. That’s typically the minimum amount of time it takes. The average length of time to form new habit is about three times that. Realize the steps mentioned already can make it easier to do, but it will take vigilance. If you miss a day or two, don’t give ­­­­in to negative self-talk about how busy you are and there’s never enough time. Start fresh and begin again.

The more you practice the easier it becomes to do every day without thinking about it. After all, it’s the reason you committed to working with your trainer in the first place. You want to have command of your American English accent so you can use it effortlessly whenever you want. That takes practice. You didn’t give up when you were learning English. Fine-tuning your accent is easier than that.

Surround yourself with patient listeners

If you want to change your English speaking habits, you need to find people who aren’t afraid to give you honest (but friendly) feedback between sessions. Let people you’re comfortable with know that you’re practicing specific communication skills and ask them how you’re doing. This has two advantages. Not only will the feedback let you know if you’re making progress but you just announced that you’re practicing. It’s out there now. People will assume you practice and will expect to hear changes in your speech. Don’t let them down.

Remove obstacles

The reason you have routines in your life is because they are convenient. If it was inconvenient you wouldn’t do it. I know a person who let paperwork pile up on her kitchen counter because her system was to file it all in a filing cabinet in the basement. It was inconvenient to head down there to file away receipts and bills so the paperwork piled up. As soon as she switched to an accordion folder in the hall closet, everything got filed away. An easy fix. If you’re having trouble fitting in daily practice, take a moment to assess what’s interfering. Maybe it’s more convenient to practice after the kids go to bed, or maybe you focus better in a different location. Figure out what’s causing the problem and change it.

Reward yourself

A good way to ensure that you repeat a behavior is to reward yourself for doing it. Create an association between practicing and a treat, so you’re more likely to do it next time. Personally, I like to keep a secret stash of fancy chocolates on hand as a reward when I need motivation to complete a task.  Find what works for you and treat yourself after a practice session for a job well done.

Daily practice of your communication skills will take some purposeful effort at first. Hopefully these steps will make it easier for you to fit practice into your daily routine. Be proud of the hard work you’re doing. Get excited at the changes you hear, and how much easier it is to be understood. The effort you’re putting in to your communication skills now will help you reach the career goals you set for yourself.

 

Accent Training: The Daily Practice Habit, Part 2

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