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Talking your way to a dream job with neutral accent

By Goretti Kimani | December 28th 2012

By Goretti Kimani

NAIROBI, KENYA Take the case of Stella. She has a degree in communications from a local university. A year ago, she secured an interview with an international organisation as a communications officer. She passed all the interviews and was sure she would land the dream job.

However, in her last interview, one of the panelists said her accent was too heavy for the intended market and she was therefore unfit for the job.

Nothing had prepared her for the reality a neutral accent can open one to employment options.

Strong presence

In addition neutral accented people can work practically anywhere and they do not suffer the fear normally presented by the language and cultural divide.

A neutral accent is crucial in developing great presentation skills and reducing the frustration when dealing with cross-cultural groups.

How does one develop a neutral accent? Contrary to popular belief, any natural accent can be modified. Developing a neutral accent involves shedding off excesses from your current accent.

While this may sound easy, it is an uphill task that must be handled with the seriousness it deserves.

Some people have a heavier natural accent than others and may require a lot more effort than others. 

Firstly, one must work on the pronunciation. It is important to practice to be audible to others. Many people already know their weak areas when it comes to sounds.

Effort must be made to speak clearly and precisely while avoiding your natural slang or contractions.

Eye on the ball

Local referencing and examples should also be avoided in polished conversation as this helps entrench the desired attributes.

Countless materials are available for one to polish their skills. Ensure to watch and listen to international speakers as you practice.

As you work on this you must realise that some people may not like the new you and will make some annoying comments as you get along. Never worry about these sideshows.

Keep your goal in mind and work towards getting there.Remember, with determination and focus, it is all possible.

—The writer is a human resource specialist at Peoplelink Consultants Ltd ([email protected])

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