Do you wanna hide your accent?

During the break in one of my training in Manhattan, one Asian-looking participant came up to me, ‘Sometimes when I speak, my accent comes out. I tried to hide it, but it comes out when I’m not careful. I went to an international school so my accent is all over the place. Do you have any tips for that?’

‘What’s wrong with that? I have an accent too. Did you stop believing what I have to say because of that?’

‘I don’t want people to hear it.’

‘Why not?’

‘It’s not right.’

‘Remember what we talked about earlier? That’s what makes you you! You have to let yourself out! You have to get over yourself!’

‘But I don’t like it.’

‘That’s you! That’s what makes you unique! If you got rid of it, you would be like everyone else! Why would you want to do that?’

‘Well my friends pick up on that and they pick on me.’

‘That’s the problem with society. We damage people without knowing we’re doing that. Whenever we say “you have this big bottom”, or “you have big feet”. We really should stop. We’re ruining people’s lives!’ Everyone has an accent one way or another! Otherwise we’d be robots!’

She nodded, seemed convinced.. I secretly hope she would embrace her uniqueness.

How to tell your audience to NOT listen to you III

Have you ever seen a horror movie?

What happens just before the ugly monster comes on screen?

What happens before we get to see the horrible looking dismembered corpse ?

What happens before the ghosts appear?

Yes.

Nothing happens.

We have to wait!

Suspense!

Quiet music.

The suspense holds our attention.

You want to lose your audience?

Speak non stop.

You want the audience to pay attention?

Pause before you give them the all important truth.

The trick is, we always think we are pausing longer than we really are! So what may happen, is that as you are speaking, in that split second, you’re thinking ‘Shit. this is taking a really long time. It’s too much. It’s gonna be weird.’

After she finished, I said, ‘can you pause longer?’

She went, ‘I did!’

That just goes to show: when we speak, time feels twice as long. So – be ready for this: the trick is, when you want to speak again, tell yourself, ‘let me keep quiet for double the time, because the only one that feels weird, is me. The others are still processing what I’m saying!’