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Public Speaking course for speaker of foreign language


Can Anyone help? I have been asked to source some 'training' aimed at boosting the confidence of an employee when it comes to public speaking.

He's fluent in English but with a very heavy accent and to be honest, I do sometime struggle to understand him. I think he gets embarrassed when people keep asking him to repeat himself.

I don't think we could necessarily improve on his accent without extensive (and expensive) elocution lessons so I'm looking for something on public speaking specifically for speakers of a foreighn language that might give him a few tips and help with his confidence levels.

We're in the South of England. Can anyone suggest a provider of such a service?
Jane Hodgson

6 Responses

  1. I can help
    Hello Jane,

    Working in the City of London I have worked with a large number of foreign clients, some with extremely strong accents. As you suggest, there is a great deal of work to be done to soften and improve the accent and I have developed over time a number of useful exercises that can be worked upon in the classroom (and at home). If you’re interested in discussing this further, my number is 07731-876304.

    Regards Vince

  2. Thoughts on Public Speaking
    Hi Jane,
    I can’t recommend a provider but here are some thoughts:
    From your posting it looks like your employee’s main stumbling block during public speaking is his accent and so it might be a good idea to tackle that first?
    What are his thoughts on this?

    Maybe during an initial elocution/voice session he can be given exercises to practice at home – it might be that three sessions or so are enough to give him a little boost of confidence. If you are concerned about the cost, why not try somewhere like the Central School of Speech and Drama? They have an MA in Voice Studies and might be able to recommend some of their recent graduates/brighter students.

    Failing that, I don’t offer this kind of service usually but if you think working with another foreigner might help, I will be happy to speak to you further. (Also feel free to call just to discuss this issue.) Please use the contact details for Unusual Connections.
    Best of luck – it would be interesting to find out how you resolve this issue, do keep us posted!
    Pilar Orti

  3. Toastmasters
    I would recommend you seek out your local Toastmasters club. They’re used to helping people speak in public when English isn’t their first language and will do it in a supportive, encouraging environment. Look at

  4. EFL…
    Hi Jane,

    As Pilar touched on earlier – how is this person when speaking in public in his native language? If he is already good then we need to focus not on public speaking but just on the accent.

    I can’t personally recommend any providers in your area I’m afraid. I work in English language training in Italy and one of the faster growing areas in our sector is accent reduction.

    I’ve seen advertised quite a few courses in the UK and US focussed on accent reduction, though mostly targeted at the Indian market. However, they weren’t extravagantly priced – mostly at around the same pricing for language courses, which are normally much cheaper than other types of training. I’m sure a Google search and a few reference checks would turn up some (reputable) providers.

    I hope you’ll let us know how it turns out.
    All the best,

  5. Another source of help for your employee…

    I agree with the observations of previous contributors of the importance of identifying whether it’s confidence boosting and public speaking skills required by your employee or accent reduction. Both speaking and listening skills would be required for the employee in addition to providing tips on the cultural context to help the employee make the mental adjustment to communicating in the UK. If you are still looking for an effective training/coaching solution, please contact me directly ([email protected]) as I am based in London and will be able to assist.
    Tel: 0845 054 2870


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