Here are some frequently asked questions from perspective clients that I hope will help you get a better idea of how I can help you achieve your speech pronunciation goals.
How does your service stand out?
Atlas Speech Coaching accent reduction services are personalized, structured and focused. Using the Compton Pronouncing English as a Second Language Program, I systematically transition non-native speakers of American English from accented speech to highly effective, confident and easily understood communication in 10 hours.
Clients work one-on-one with Eric Maki, a Compton certified Accent Modification Specialist, who analyzes each individual’s speech to determine specific areas of improvement. Ten sessions are designed to move you from your current state of speech to a dramatically improved level of communication and pronunciation. Sessions are conducted online with video conferencing or via teleconference to accommodate your availability and location anywhere in the world.
What do you enjoy about speech coaching or accent modification instruction?
Working with people from all over the world to help them accomplish their goal to speak English with less accent and great clarity. Clients who complete our work together see a 50-70% improvement in the clarity of their pronunciation. This transformational success is achieved by incorporating proven techniques that modify habitual speech patterns in a short period of time. The Atlas Speech Coaching approach is the most effective, results driven accent modification method available.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a speech coach or an accent modification specialist?
Make sure your accent modification teacher is certified by the Institute of Language & Phonology uses the Compton methodology for training. I am certified by the Institute of Language & Phonology as an Accent Modification Specialist.
Be careful if you are considering a speech pathologist as your instructor, because accented speech is not the result of a pathological disorder. Having an accent is nothing more than the result of learning a second language as an adult. Speaking with an accent happens to anyone regardless of age, education or background, but especially true for adults who learn English from non-native English speaking teachers. I certainly speak Spanish and French with an American accent and know that having an accent is not any kind of speech disorder. It is simply how you learn to speak English when it is filtered through your native language.
When you learn English in a classroom setting, teachers work with many students at the same time based on a set curriculum. Because of this individuals often have specific personal speech issues that never get addressed, never get corrected and persist forever. Especially when your English teacher is a non-native English speaker, it is easy to pick up bad habits that will cause your accent to be a distraction and a barrier to communicating with native English speakers. A personal speech coach does not teach a classroom of students generalized material for a specific test. Instead a speech coach’s role is to help solve each individual student’s specific pronunciation problems.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Most of my clients are professionals who work a wide variety of jobs. The common theme is my clients need to improve their pronunciation and communication skills in order to advance their careers. I help them accomplish their fluency goals. Here are some example professions for some of my recent clients: Software Development, Engineering, IT Consulting, Scientific Researcher, Physician, Customer Service, Business Owner, Professor and Sales Executive.
The importance of pronunciation cannot be understated in a professional or social setting. It is also one of the most difficult problems to solve on your own. Practicing English with friends from the same country as you is a great start, but you will not be able to overcome pronunciation problems because they are likely making the same mistakes and cannot accurately judge your speaking abilities. Reading about pronunciation and watching generic videos may seem like a good idea, but ultimately they will prove frustrating because you will not be able to self-correct effectively. It takes working with a native English speaker who is professionally trained to specifically reduce accents by neutralizing distracting sounds to achieve your goal of fluency.
Regardless of your background, profession, culture or native language I can help you achieve your language fluency goals.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
My work with non-native English speakers who learn a new language as an adult, focuses on changing the unconscious habits that govern the sounds produced. Each of my clients begins with an free language assessment online. This online recording uses practice words and reading passage are phonetically balanced to specifically test the most important areas of spoken American English. Then I analyze the recordings and present a full personal speech assessment to my clients for free before our first session.
Based on this assessment I recommend a personalized 8-10 session program that will not only improve the target sounds, but also work to improve your complete word production, voice projection, and phrasing skills.
New habits or the reshaping of old habits can only be accomplished with practice and repetition. An 8-10 week program provides the most concise and effective results for my clients to achieve their goal to improve pronunciation.
I work with my clients one-to-one over the phone because when I meet with them in person or when we use Skype they have a tendency to feel like their practice is more of a performance. It is important for us to work on developing new speaking skills using your natural voice. Plus, it is your ears and your mouth, not your eyes, that help improve your pronunciation.
Typically my client’s grammar and vocabulary are very good. And they have a strong command of the English language. However, without working with a professional speech coach, your accent will stay the same. I help my clients shed the distracting sounds that signal to friends, colleagues and clients that they are not a native English speaker.
I am certified by the Institute of Language & Phonology as an Accent Modification Specialist. This certification is very specialized to specifically help improve spoken English. I work with individuals from around the world to help them improve their pronunciation and neutralize their accented speech, regardless of their native language and culture.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service?
I typically work with my clients on a weekly basis for hour long lessons at prices that range depending on my availability.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I started by first helping friends, colleagues and family members who learned to speak English as a second or third language as adults. The results were tremendously positive and personally rewarding to see the impact that improving spoken communication can have on a person’s life. I achieved my Certification from the Institute of Language & Phonology in 2014 and I’ve been helping individuals around the world ever since.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Do I need an Accent Reduction Speech Coach? is a question all of my clients needed to evaluate and answer before hiring me. If you are wondering if personal accent reduction and pronunciation training is right for you, start by asking yourself:
Do colleagues ask me to repeat myself countless times throughout the day?
Do I feel self-conscious when meeting new people because I’m worried they won’t understand me?
Do I avoid talking on the phone?
Do I feel like my accent is holding me back professionally?
Do I have a trouble making new friends with native English speakers?
Have I tried watching video tutorials on accents, taken traditional ESL classes, read how-to guides for improving your English but still struggle speaking Standard American English in professional or social settings?
If you answer even remotely close to YES on any of these questions, then I can help correct your accent and improve your pronunciation.
Having an accent is nothing more than the result of learning a second language as an adult. Speaking with an accent happens to anyone regardless of age, education or background, but especially true for adults who learn English from non-native English speaking teachers. I certainly speak Spanish and French with an American accent and know that having an accent is not any kind of speech disorder. It is simply how you learn to speak English when it is filtered through your native language.
When you learn English in a classroom setting, teachers work with many students at the same time based on a set curriculum. Because of this individuals often have specific personal speech issues that never get addressed, never get corrected and persist forever. Especially when your English teacher is a non-native English speaker, it is easy to pick up bad habits that will cause your accent to be a distraction and a barrier to communicating with native English speakers. A personal speech coach does not teach a classroom of students generalized material for a specific test. Instead a speech coach’s role is to help solve each individual student’s specific speech problems.
A good speech coach begins by listening to an individual’s speech, assessing the problematic areas and making a specific list of sounds that need to be improved. Then the speech coach shows the individual how to make the appropriate changes and how to practice the new sounds. By working with an accent reduction speech coach, individuals can make progress at a self-determined pace instead of having to move on too quickly when more time and effort is needed to improve a specific area. Learning how to correctly speak sounds is a separate process from acquiring English vocabulary and learning grammar rules. This is shown by the fact that on their own, anyone’s pronunciation of a second language rarely improves with the passage of time. The only way to overcome this challenging barrier is with personalized instruction and coaching.
If you are wondering if private speech coaching is right for you, please contact me about my free personal speech assessment. There is no obligation to take the free assessment and to receive a report analyzing your nine areas of speech production. Pronunciation is everything. Without proper pronunciation your efforts to learn English grammar and vocabulary will be undermined. Your path to better pronunciation starts here.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
Over the past year I’ve worked with individuals who speak 12 different languages and each of them improved their spoken English by at least 50%. The results were dramatic and they benefited by improving their accented speech in both their personal and professional lives. 90% of my new clients come as referrals from graduating clients. I think that is a testament to how much my clients enjoy working with me and how happy they are by their progress.