Interview with Lisa
How long have you been working as a Speech Pathologist and how did you get to be an Accent Reduction Specialist?
I have been a speech pathologist for over 20 years, working with adults and children to overcome a variety of communication breakdowns. As English has become more widely accepted as the language of business, the demand for accent reduction services has grown. To better serve my clients, I became a certified accent reduction trainer and further continued my education by attending seminars and studying several different techniques to improve English pronunciation. As I worked with clients, I learned what worked well and what didn’t, and I put the best information and techniques together into my Accent Optimization program. My clients tell me I teach them strategies that no one has ever told them before and that make a huge difference in daily communication.
Who are your clients exactly?
My clients are professionals who speak English as a second language, and although they are conversational in English, their accent interferes with their performance at work and causes communication breakdowns both at work and in social settings. They work in fields such as engineering, medicine, accounting, sales, IT, and aviation, to name a few.
How are you different from other Accent Reduction Specialists?
First of all, I am a nationally licensed speech pathologist and I have an extra certification in accent reduction training. My approach is to first determine your goals and then plan a course of action. Rather than offering a prepackaged program, I draw from my years of experience and a variety of resources that will best meet your needs. We start with a pre- assessment to determine exactly which sounds and patterns you need to target, I show you how to master the basics, and then we practice these new skills using industry-specific materials.
What type of personality do you work with and what is expected of me?
I work with intelligent, highly-motivated individuals who want to speak English more clearly. Whether you are outgoing or shy doesn’t matter as long as you are ready to work on your pronunciation. You will need to set aside daily practice time each week in order to achieve the goals you have set.
For what type of professional is this program NOT going to work?
If you are comfortable with your current level of American pronunciation or want a “magic pill” that will change your accent without some time and effort invested, then this program will not work for you.
What is the difference between your program and those inexpensive CD-ROM kits I see on the internet?
Great question! It goes back to the old adage that says “you get what you pay for”. Many of those kits have some valuable information in them, and you may find them helpful. However, they are not targeted to a particular individual, so you may find yourself practicing sounds that don’t really affect your speech.
For example, there are 51 sounds in the English language, but most non-native speakers only have 10-15 sounds affecting their speech. How will you know which ones you need to work on? We provide you with a customized speech analysis and a personalized plan that addresses only the sounds that you need.
Also, those kits cannot provide a trainer to be sure you are pronouncing the sounds correctly. If you can figure it out on your own, that’s great! But, if you would like to work with a highly trained speech professional who will help you achieve your specific goals, then please contact us.
I am an American with a Southern accent. Can you help me?
Yes. We have a specific program tailored for Americans who wish to neutralize their regional dialect.
Do you teach English as a Second Language?
No. I specialize in fine-tuning your English pronunciation once you have learned the basics of English vocabulary. I can show you how to reduce your accent, use correct intonation, and even work on grammar and complicated expressions. We custom design your program to meet your specific needs and goals. Once you have mastered basic conversational English, I would love to work with you!
Can you work with speakers of any foreign language?
Yes. The Compton P-ESL program is designed to teach the pronunciation of standard English. Since we are working to modify your speech so it sounds more standard, it does not matter what your native language is.
What is Accent Optimization?
To optimize something means to make the best of it, or to maximize its efficiency. Accent optimization, then, is making your communication the best and most efficient it can be. Some people have a goal of sounding as much like an American as possible, while others simply want to be understood without giving up the accent that reflects their heritage. We work together to determine your goals and achieve your optimal level of clarity.
What exactly is your Accent Optimization program, and what is included?
There are three levels of the Accent Optimization program. All of them include a pre- and post-assessment, access to my proprietary software for practice on your computer or smartphone, lesson plans with audio files and handouts, and a free copy of my e-book, Accent Optimization 101. This little book includes extra pronunciation tips, techniques for practice, and creative ideas for implementing your new skills in everyday life.
The first is the Premium Package, a 24-week course which includes plenty of time for addressing all of your concerns about pronunciation, intonation, stress, and even idioms and grammar. This course is tailored to your needs and often includes customized lesson plans and practice materials base on your specific industry or business. Depending on your goals, we may practice work presentations, make vocabulary lists for pronunciation practice from your company’s materials, or practice job interviews. This course offers the greatest flexibility and is the most thorough way to achieve the American accent you’ve been dreaming of.
The second level is my Basic Package. This one is very similar to the Premium package except that it is limited to 12 private sessions with me. You still have the pre- and post-assessments, access to practice materials, and the e-book. We will address your most difficult pronunciation and intonation concerns. This course is a great opportunity for you to achieve a significant improvement in your pronunciation.
The third level is my newest one, the Accent Optimization Home Study course. This course is for the highly motivated individual who can hear the differences in the sounds independently, and just needs to check in with me periodically to be sure that he or she is staying on track. This home study course is different from many in that it is not the same for everyone. It is still an individualized program. You will take the pre-assessment, and I will set up lesson plans for you on my software with your 10 most troublesome sounds or patterns. You will have three 30-minute sessions with me for you to schedule as you feel that you need them to make the best progress. Of course, you always have the option to upgrade to one of the other courses if you find that you need more time with me.
Does this really work?
Yes, it does! But like any self-improvement program, you get out of it what you put into it. The more you practice and the more dedicated you are to changing the way you speak, the better your results will be. I invite you to check out some of my former clients’ testimonials to see their results.
What results should I expect?
As I said before, individual results will differ. I have had clients who practiced an hour and a half per day, and I have had clients who never practiced. Clearly, they didn’t get the same results.
If you practice daily as recommended, you will see an improvement in your pronunciation. Most of my clients who practice regularly experience a 70% or more increase in their correct pronunciation from the pre-assessment to the post-assessment.
I have found that in general, when clients are practicing every day, sometime between the sixth and eighth week, they will wake up one day and notice that their speech has improved. Of course, the improvement has been happening slowly all that time, but much of it has been subconscious retraining of the brain. All of a sudden, or so it seems, you are able to use the techniques you’ve been learning and you can speak English more clearly. It is always exciting when that happens, because it really motivates you to keep on working to achieve all of your pronunciation goals.
I’m ready to get started. What do I do?
Congratulations on investing in yourself! The first step is for us to set up a “get acquainted” call over Skype. Or, if you are in the Knoxville, TN area, call me to set up a face to face appointment. We will discuss your accent reduction goals, determine which program is the best one for you, and schedule our first class. I’m excited to begin working with you!
You can contact me at *protected email* or by phone at +1.865.924.5144.