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English Expression/Accent Reduction

The number of international professionals in the United States is increasing steadily. Bilinguals have an advantage in the workplace. 

The fact that many have obtained the necessary credentials to work in United States businesses shows English language proficiency. Yet, a thick foreign accent could be interfering with efficient communication and client relationships. 

This program is for you if: 
• you are constantly asked to repeat yourself 
• you have difficulty understanding others even though you have English proficiency
• people focus on your accent more than your message
• you find yourself avoiding social interactions and networking opportunities
• you hesitate to speak in front of an audience

Career Advancement
An accent has nothing to do with expertise, skill, or training. But professionals are being judged by it in the business world. Effective communication is critical to management and executive-level positions, and the less people can understand what you say, the less likely you are to be promoted.

Medical Liability
Research has shown that in the medical field, more than 65 percent of hospital deaths and injuries and 55 percent of medication errors were due to communication factors (JCAHO, 2002). Even subtle pronunciation mistakes (“15” for “50” or “breathe” for “bleed”) can result in serious or deadly consequences, as well as expensive and career-ending litigation.

Client Frustration
Both the client and service professional have a vital need to understand and be understood. Trust and cultural sensitivity are imperative in any environment. Yet studies show that thick foreign accents can diminish trust, and inappropriate interactions can perpetuate stereotypes and prejudices. Good communication leads to customer satisfaction!

Self-Esteem
The 2007 American Community Survey found that about 20 percent of the United States population is considered bilingual. Studies show that bilinguals are smarter and have additional improved non-language cognitive skills. Despite the fact that you are scientifically proven to be amazingly smart, your accent might be making you feel inferior to others.

Our Customizable Training
Our co-training technique makes our workshops engaging and interactive while targeting specific industries. We combine the first-hand knowledge of a native Spanish/ESOL certified instructor with the background of an American speech and communication professional, who have both successfully overcome cultural and linguistic challenges. We produce successful results in such areas as American English pronunciation, casual versus formal speech, idiomatic and slang expressions, false cognates, nonverbal cues/body language, and cultural awareness, as well as professional speaking skills. You will gain self-confidence in your communication skills and motivation for advancement!

This program is ideal for administrators who want access to structured training. It’s ideal for students who want to assimilate more smoothly into the university system. It’s perfect for individuals who just want to feel more confident about themselves.

Everyone has an accent, which is defined as the “unique way speech is pronounced by a group of people speaking the same language.” Accents are a natural part of spoken language and should not be considered a speech or language disorder. And… Americans love accents! They think accents, particularly “foreign” ones, are charming, exotic, and romantic. However, even within the American culture, dialectical accents can result in unflattering stereotypes.

People who speak American English as a first language learn certain patterns and idioms in speaking from birth, just like native speakers of any language. But those patterns and idioms can be taught, and learned, allowing you to speak more clearly and understandably. The objective is not to get rid of accents, but to improve clarity and communication.

Between the ages of 6 and 9, we lose our ability to distinguish sounds that are different from our native language. Languages use different facial muscles to make different sounds, and some languages make the learning process more challenging than others. But with the help of experienced instructors, as well as practice and repetition, anyone can change their speaking patterns. After training, you won’t sound like a native American English speaker, because you’ll still have an accent, but American listeners will be able to understand you better and you’ll be able to understand what they’re saying. However! As with any new skill, you’ll have to continue practicing to see constant improvements and produce more natural patterns.

People cannot effectively change their second language pronunciation without assistance from instructors who are aware of the subtle nuances that can hinder communication. Instruction, practice, and feedback are all crucial components of a successful English expression process. We help non-native speakers of English commit to training by providing customized sessions for individuals and small groups, as well as seminars for organizations and events. 

The Trainers

Teresa Martinez
Born in Santa Clara Cuba, Teresa V. Martinez immigrated to the USA in 1970. After twelve years as a Spanish and English as a Second Language teacher with the public school system, in 1989, she founded the Institute of Spanish Communication, Inc., an entity dedicated to language instruction, translations, training and Spanish radio and television productions. Teresa is one of the most representative Latinas in her community. In 2006, the Board of Polk County Commissioners proclaimed June 6 as “Teresa Martínez Day.” The Governor of Florida also honored her with the Point of Light Award. Teresa has traveled to numerous Latin America and Europeans countries coordinating and organizing international exchange student programs. Furthermore, she has served as a travel manager and interpreter for the Miss Universe Organization throughout Latin America. She is a member of several boards of directors and holds a seat on the Board of Trustees for Polk State College.

Joan Davies 
A Florida native, Joan Davies holds a master’s degree in Communication and has taught college-level public speaking and oral communication for more than 15 years. She spent more than 20 years in the broadcasting field, developing and operating two government television stations. Joan has produced and hosted award-winning television and internet shows. Joan has conducted media relations and television communication techniques training for business professionals. She has also created award-winning marketing campaign materials, and was recognized nationally for innovation in government for developing the first “e-town hall” in Florida for Polk County Government in 2009. Born deaf, Joan grew up wearing hearing aids and challenged the norm by performing in theatre and drama competitions to develop and maintain a natural speaking pattern. She now hears with cochlear implants and is committed to helping others deliver effective communication in any culture and environment. She is also founder/owner of Ripple Video and Web, Inc.

“For more than 15 years, Teresa Martinez has coordinated excellent English summer courses to our students, many of whom have become outstanding international business professionals.” Father Antonio Sorribes – Manyanet Schools, Spain.