As a UK national who occasionally teaches English to non-native speakers, I am often asked about my own accent which some of my students think is very unusual.
I was brought up in West London in the 1980s. The cultural groups with whom I was surrounded were mainly of English, Irish, West Indian and Caribbean origin. Accordingly, they were native English speakers albeit with a very wide variety of accents. Each first generation group had its own sound but the second generation, with whom I attended school, mostly spoke in a fairly unremarkable London accent of the type that you just don’t really hear any more. I guess this is why younger non-native English speakers ask me about mine.
Most of us are familiar with the concept that how we say something is as important – if not more so – than what we actually say. This article takes a look at how we can craft the right tone.
It was UCLA academic Albert Mehrabian who taught us that good communication is made up of three parts:
Body language; and
Tone of voice
I lead learning groups in both presentation skills and autism support. Within these sessions, we spend a fair bit of time thinking about how we may need to tailor our communication if the receiver has a barrier to their understanding – as in the case of an autistic person. Or, if we ourselves are a little unsure about the communication – as with someone who is new to public speaking or writing for an audience.