This weeks blog has been written by London Speech Workshop Senior Coach Theo Devaney about his client Louisa and their journey together. Please note clients name has been changed in order to preserve confidentiality.
Who is Louisa?
Louisa is a very confident and ambitious young executive with management responsibilities in her finance sector profession. For her age she is very accomplished and is surely heading for the top of her industry. Like many of my clients, she is a high-achieving professional who is used to being extremely competent at the projects she takes on. It is always very impressive to me that people who have so many challenges already in their working and personal lives, have the courage and energy to embark on a course like ours that can sometimes be challenging in new and unexpected ways
Why does she want to soften her accent?
Although she came to the UK at a young age, Louisa has retained some habits of speech from her childhood in Ukraine. She has noticed that in some professional and social environments, these non-neutral English speech habits mark her out as an ‘outsider’. After more than 10 years in the UK to be continually asked “Where are you from?” can become, frankly, boring.
She began the course longing to be able to speak to new acquaintances without having to explain her life story, and for conversation to be guided by her personality, or simply just the issue at hand, rather than a narrow perception of who she is, based on the sounds she makes.
What are her goals?
Her goals were therefore to soften those sounds that are holding onto her accent and striking her audience’s ear as “foreign”, whilst also developing a confidence and expressiveness when speaking in English, so that the content of her conversation, not her accent becomes the focus of attention.
How is she doing?
Throughout the course so far Louisa has been incredibly dedicated; working hard to do the practice and homework I've suggested and to embed the new sounds and learning into her life. And her hard work pays off. After just a couple of sessions, some of the young men in her office complimented her on her “posh, authoritative new voice”.
This illustrates something we often see in our clients; how incorporating the learning of the sessions into their daily lives can quickly lead to increased confidence and make immediate and positive impacts on those around you. This goes for new acquaintances, and established relationships alike.
Louisa and I are in continual conversation about how the work applies to different aspects of her life, and this has helped me to tailor her course to fit her needs ever more effectively. If there is a presentation to prepare for work, we can work on that; if Diana has technical texts from the workplace, of course we can find ways to enhance her command of technical language and communication. There is no limit to how specific and ‘bespoke’ the process can be, when a client is committed to the process. The more we give together in the sessions, the more positive results we experience.
A final word?
I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to work with Louisa; some sessions have been inspiring for us both alike. I’m also pleased that our course is not yet over, as I’m confident we still have some more fantastic breakthroughs to come.