The Power of Speech

Why do we need good received pronunciation – BBC English?

Clear diction can help us to communicate more effectively with others and to be more authoritative in what we say.

How does speech affect others perception of us?

Second only to physical appearance, speech is the first thing people engage with when they meet us.  How we are perceived  is  bound up in how we present ourselves and lazy speech can diminish successful communication.

What is wrong with having an accent?

Nothing at all.  It is very much a part of who we are and can even be an advantage if you are seeking a career that involves having an image where speech is part of your own personal brand or trademark, as in the case of some celebrities who have capitalized on their particular accents.  But for many in other fields of work, poor diction can hold us back from achieving our true potential.  If we are seeking to lead and communicate well with others, we need to be understood and if someone is not clear in their speech, they may be overtaken by those who are.

If I change my accent or pronunciation, won’t I lose my origins and identity?

Not at all.  You will never lose your unique accent and heritage.  It is more that you will be able to choose when to switch back to use one way of speaking over another.  You can go back to your accent of origin whenever you like but it is very much about having the tools of the trade.  If you were applying for an office job, you wouldn’t arrive in jeans and T-shirt, but would most likely wear a suit.  In much the same way choosing to have strong clear RP is a way of presenting yourself as in command and at times when making a good first impression is important, then having the tools of the trade, i.e strong powerful image, is part of that.

Is it ever too late to change your speech?

NO – you can change your speech at any age.  Speech is a habit and just like long term habits of smoking or drinking, can be replaced by healthier more empowering behaviour – language is no different to any other habit.  Actors and actresses often change their accent for a part and then revert back to their authentic accent.  It is all about having choices.

Won’t it take a long time to achieve good RP diction?

Clear diction can be achieved in just 6 weeks with a daily commitment of ten minutes using Joanna’s programmes or direct teaching methods.

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