A purpose of "small talk"​

As a typical Russian I was rubbish at "small talk". I found it boring and useless. I want an instant connection on a deep level. For me, small talk was a waste of my time. A typical small talk is usually about the weather, current events or immediate surroundings, so superficial and meaningless, I thought.

I was wrong. Small talk does have a purpose. It is a great opportunity to size up the other person. We see their gestures, hear their accent and make an eye contact. It helps us decide whether we want to carry the conversation any further. Recently I was talking to a friend, a CEO of a consultancy company, he says that it's enough for him to say hello and shake hands with a person in order to understand if he can work with them.

In the UK, your accent speaks louder than words, it is a sign of your cultural background, education and social status. Once people hear your accent, to coin a phrase, they put you in a box. People make judgments immediately.

This fact explains why RP (Received Pronunciation, which in the past was called Queens English, Oxford English or BBC English is still an accent people want to learn. This accent is simply a shortcut to sound neutral and educated. Elocution, articulation and other vocal techniques help you to enhance your powers of communication further and cultivates strong presence. Once you have strong presence doors open people want to be around you, have business with you, you get a better job and a higher salary , and we can continue this list.

With our accent apps, books and lessons, it usually takes only 1-3 months to learn RP, and the benefits are priceless and will last you a lifetime. To listen to free lessons from our audio accent books visit: http://www.batcsglobal.com/products/

Follow a good example with a new accent app

Hello,

Many people are coming to us to fix their English, because they learned it with bad pronunciation and as a result their social and professional lives suffered. We had people with degrees in English Language, but their speech was too quiet and unintelligible, because they didn't know how to project their voice, how to pronounce English sounds correctly, etc. When we asked how it happened they told us that the main focus in their study was on English grammar, reading silently and writing.

We think, that the best way to master English speech is to listen to native speakers who have Received Pronunciation (RP or Oxford English), repeat after them and memorise phrases rather than separate words. But it is not always easy to find someone for that. Nowadays many native Brits speak with regional accents and their speech is not the best example to follow if you want to be understood globally.

We have the solution for you: we have published a new accent app on the AppStore: "English Accent for Beginners”. It contains essential English words, phrases and short snappy sentences, amusing verses, rhythmic and articulation exercises and passages, all of them so useful and easy to repeat.

With this accent app you can:

·       Listen to the same phrase/ sentence/verse to master the English sounds of RP a few times;

·       Repeat and record yourself, imitating the actor’s pronunciation, intonation and the stresses;

·       Compare your speech with actors on the app.

Yours

Olga Smith

"My life would've been different..."

In the past week I had met with two new students separately (one was French the other one Turkish), but  they've said the same thing, and I quote: "My life would've been different if I met you ten years ago". They complained how their career and social life had suffered as a result of their strong foreign accent.

 I knew exactly what they meant as I were there myself. I completed an MBA, passed Proficiency in English Cambridge exam, but I felt something was missing. I lacked confidence, I felt not accepted, because I spoke with a very strong and harsh Russian accent. People could not always understand me. To tell the truth I felt like a second class citizen despite of my great life achievements. I decided to get rid of my accent.

 I started looking for help and a friend advised me to book a few elocution lessons and learn Received pronunciation or RP. In the past it was also called Queens English, Oxford English or BBC English. I met Linda James and we first started working on English sounds and articulation, later on my intonation and some vocal techniques.

  I joined Toastmasters, a public speaking club and my work on accent reduction paid off! Not only people could understand me, but I felt respected, because I sounded educated. I felt empowered and I realised that there are so many people like me in the UK, educated high achievers, but their foreign accent is weighing them down, it doesn't allow them to enter certain doors.

 I said to Linda:"We must write a book together and we call it "Get Rid of your Accent". This book became an international bestseller and was translated into Chinese, Russian and adopted for American pronunciation. We did not stop at one book and also published "Get Rid of your Accent Part 2" with lessons on fluent English speech. Later our high profile clients inspired us to write "Get Rid of your Accent for Business". For this book I interviewed CEO of large corporation, Masters of British Empire. This book is a short cut to a very high level English.

 With advances in technology we converted our elocution  books into interactive accent apps and public speaking apps. Students can listen to actors, repeat  and copy pronunciation, liaisons and  intonation; they can also record themselves and compare their pronunciation with actors. With the help of our accent apps you can neutralize or modify accent within a month, provided to practice daily for 30-45 minutes.

 Our latest book is for people to just started learning English, it is called "Get Rid of your Accent for Beginners". We think it is better to start learning English with good pronunciation, rather than fixing it several years later when you already  developed so many bad pronunciation  habits. "Old habits die hard" as the saying goes.

 Do not wait ten years and hope your accent will disappear. It takes some effort. It is worth investing now then regretting and struggling  in the future!

How to get rid of your accent fast

A few days ago I met with a new student and she said that she feels a bit skeptical that she can get rid of her accent. She said:" I know I will study English sounds and intonation, but I doubt I can speak without an accent. Indeed, many students practice with accent apps and books regularly, but when it comes to their everyday speech they still speak with an accent.

Where is the catch? I tell you. Every person has their own individual vocabulary. For example a doctor talks about patients, a lawyer about his clients, a housewife about kids, organising the house and so on. Each uses certain words in certain situations.

We give our students a task right from the start: we ask them to write down mini passages and mini dialogues from their everyday speech and bring them to each lesson. Each lesson we study English sounds, intonation and articulation, and each time I ask students to identify English sounds in their passages and dialogues.

Performing this task has huge benefits for accent softening:

·        Your accent reduction is laser focused on your individual vocabulary.

·        Your work on accent is practical and relevant.

·        You are very motivated because you see the desired results fast.

Do not rely on material from accent apps and books alone, take your accent reduction work in your own hands and bring it to the next level today! Write down mini passages and dialogues on essential topics: your education, work, where you live, where are you from, shopping etc. and use them during your accent reduction lessons. To book your lesson email: oriana_r@hotmail.com.

I wish you fun with this work!

Yours

Olga Smith

The best way to start speaking English

Hello,

The most fun and useful part about learning English is to communicate well: to understand others and to be understood.

The best way to get there is to listen, repeat and then record yourself. We created a new Kindle and Audible pronunciation course for beginners called “Get Rid of your Accent for Beginners”, by Linda James and Olga Smith.  It is quick and easy. You will overcome your fear to speak English, learn many useful phrases and much more! Within just 3-4 weeks you will understand most of what others say and speak in a way so that others understand you!

 4 tips to start speaking English fast:

1.Listen to the same phrase/ sentence/verse to master the English sounds a few times;

2. Repeat by imitating the actor’s pronunciation, intonation and the stresses;

3. Record yourself, play back your recording and note down your mistakes;

4. Listen, repeat and record again words with mistakes until you get rid of them.

Best of luck to start speaking good English!

Yours

Olga Smith

Here is the link to the Audible version:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Get-Rid-Your-Accent-Beginners/dp/B07F19T1QS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1530175718&sr=8-2&keywords=get+rid+of+your+accent+for+beginners

Here is the link to the Kindle version:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Get-Rid-your-Accent-Beginners-ebook/dp/B07DT3DFZ9/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530175695&sr=8-1&keywords=get+rid+of+your+accent+for+beginners

What some English people feel when there hear foreign accents

We conducted research among native English people who work with non-native English speakers. We asked them what they thought about colleagues with a foreign accent that is difficult to understand. These were their replies:

·       Frustration;

·       Anxiety;

·       Doubt if they are being understood;

·       Accent distracting them from what is being said.

We run courses for diplomats and professionals in London. We have had people on our courses who have been living in England for many years, but because they never learned how to pronounce English sounds correctly, they sounded as if they had only just arrived in this country. They told us they felt inadequate because they were being asked to repeat themselves because of their bad pronunciation. In fact only a few days ago, on 24 September 2017 there was a BBC program about a Polish lady who decided to get rid of her accent. Here is the link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/magazine-41361662/i-want-to-get-rid-of-my-polish-accent

Get Rid of your Accent: Motivations

Hello,

You probably heard how sometimes English people call foreign accents sexy and charming. Why do you think people want to get rid of them? I will tell you why in this article.

We have been running accent reduction courses for diplomats and professionals for the last 12 years. We help people make their English clear and precise and they are no longer being asked to repeat themselves.

Moreover, if you speak with the right accent, namely Received Pronunciation (RP) it also open doors to high societyrespect associated with it, and last but not least much more money. Let me present a few examples given to us by our students:

"I work as an IT consultant, but because I speak with a strong Spanish accent and not all what I say is being understood, I am not invited to meetings. I know if I don't start speak more clearly, I will be starring at the PC screen and have the same salary for many years to come..."

"After your accent reduction course I got promoted to an area manager, and now I want to master my speech even more as it became absolutely clear to me that communication is power."

 "I am a dietician in Chelsea and all my clients have posh accent (RP). In order to be trusted by my clients I need to improve my accent".

Our Turkish student working as Stock Exchange trader in London told us what her manager said to her: "If you don't lose you accent you lose your job". On the trading floor people are so stressed and have no time to understand thick foreign accents.

My business partner from Silicon valley told me that there are many Chinese and Indian IT specialists working there earning peanuts because it's difficult to understand their English. He further specified: they are making $100k now, but if they changed their accent they would make $400.

All I can say the choice is yours - you are either stay sexy and charming earning peanuts, or you sort out your speech and make serious money.

We start our next Accent Reduction course on 22 May, all details are on www.batcsglobal.com

I wish you all prosperity!

 

Don't learn it, just speak it!

For the last two months I have been travelling to Thailand, Spain and Israel. I tried to speak with local people in English and realised that the conversation didn't go beyond twenty words of a very basic vocabulary. People told me that they learned English for five to seven years in schools, but according to their level of speech it felt they learned it for two days maximum. How come? It turned out they learned spelling and grammar for those seven years, but rarely spoke .

Also, I met many people who have been living in the UK for thirty years and they still speak in pidgin English. Some of them were PhDs and they complained to me that people treated them like morons because of their primitive English. Well, the reason for their poor English was that they made a choice to stick to their native community (Iranian, Russian, Spanish etc.) and to not pursue English. Interestingly enough, their passive vocabulary was often very good as they could write well, read books and papers, but they didn't dare to use this vocabulary in their speech, because they were not sure how to pronounce it and it made them shy to use it.

One of my friends is a Chinese lady who has been living in London for seven years and has an English boyfriend. She is still hesitant to speak English , she constantly repeats: "I learn English, but it's very difficult... I am not good, it's very hard". No wonder, she learns English for an hour twice a week, but then she speaks in Chinese for the rest of the time.

I decided to do a little experiment with my Chinese friend. Firstly, I told her to say to herself and others that English is easy and that she speaks good English, because when she was constantly repeating that her English was bad, to me it sounded like a self-programming for having bad English. Secondly, I gave her three new short phrases a day and asked her to repeat them five times several times a day. Thirdly, I asked her to reduce the time she speaks in Chinese and gradually increased the time she speaks in English and use the new phrases. After just a week her confidence to speak was so much higher and she felt powerful as a person.

For all who learn English I want to recommend three things:

1. Stop learning English, and start speaking it by repeating three new useful phrases several times a day. Your speech organ muscles will get used to English, you will enlarge your vocabulary and gain confidence to speak. Repeating, repeating and repeating, like parrots!

2. Reduce the time of speaking in your native language and increase the time you speak in English.

3. Listen to English TV and Radio channels, make a note of phrases you hear and repeat them five times several times a day. In the past I met Greeks, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and their English was advanced. Guess what these countries have in common: English TV channels that are not translated into their native language.

If you have been struggling with your English and want to improve it write to oriana_r@hotmail.com to get a free guidance, get our paper-back books with CDs from Amazon, audio books in series Get Rid of your Accent from Audible, or download our apps: get rid of your accent uk1 from Google Play and AppStore , and Fluent English Speech from the AppStore.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/developer/olga-smith-batcs-limited/id673687756?mt=8

All our products have audio tracks recorded by trained actors, just listen and repeat after them.

I wish you to be empowered by your outstanding English!

 

Fluency in English

Today I would to talk about how to achieve fluency in English.

Once you have sorted out your English sounds, yournext step would be to work on fluency.

What does this work involve:

1. Using schwa, or neutral vowel in prepositions (for, from, to, etc) and articles (a, an, the), thus "throwing away unimportant words", an expression used by actors.

2. Liaise prepositions with words (eg: in common, at home, etc.) , do not make pauses between words and prepositions they belong to.

3. Speak in phrases or "word blocks", rather than in separate words, connecting words in a phrase.

For example in a phrase "I'd like a cup of tea", we have two blocks: 1. I'd like , and 2. a cup of tea.

In our book Get Rid of your Accent, Advanced level, ISBN 09553300017 we give you many practice for your fluency.

More on our web site: www.batcsglobal.com

Elocution Tips

Very often many of our clients ask us:

How many lessons do they need with a teacher?

How often and for how long do they need to do exercises from our elocution books and apps to neutralise their foreign or regional accent?

Our answer is this:

 

  1. Have elocution lessons once or twice a week with a qualified speech tutor. Many of our students told us that when they practice on their own they do not always know their starting point, what exactly they are doing wrong and what is the best way to improve. The teacher with save you time to achieve your goal.
  2. Practice daily. 15 min in the morning, 15 min after lunch and 15 min in the evening. Incremental progress is the key to success. It’s better to do it regularly for a short period of time, rather than once a week for a couple of hours.
  3. Focus on one sound for 3 days. It is believed that to eliminate a mistake you have to repeat it in the correct way for 292 times.

Speech workshop at the residence of the Russian Ambassador in London

OFFICE 

Ambassador of the Russian Federation

to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 

www.rusemb.org.uk

"I was very surprised to attend so interesting class which as I’ve noticed everybody enjoyed. I’ve spoken to my colleagues and all of them have found it very productive.

As I learned French phonetics I could say that your method is very useful because you start from the base matters (how to move a tongue in a right way). From my point of view it is quite difficult to learn any matter and especially phonetics with no attending any classes. Because the teacher gives much more than a book. And your proved it 100%."

Thank you once again for your course.

 Stanislav Suprunenko

Head of the Ambassador’s Office 

Get Rid of your Accent Workshop

During their visit to the Bell Language School in London Iraqi teachers had the opportunity to receive a workshop from Olga Smith, centered around the series of best-selling pronunciation books "Get Rid of Your Accent". They are visiting London to improve their English teaching skills and the workshop was great fun for them.  The part they liked the most were the short tips that are easy to follow, so we want to share them with you here.

Tips to master pronunciation rapidly

Teachers can give the following tips to their students:

1.    Avoid speaking in your native language. Speaking in your native language will prevent you from memorising the correct placement of the speech organs and developing the speech organ muscles for the English sounds.

2.    Avoid speaking too fast, pronounce every syllable. Many people are not able to make clear sounds when speaking rapidly and these lead to indistinct or ‘woolly’ speech”.


3.    Read newspapers, magazines and books out loud. Audio books are fantastic to listen to and to imitate the correct pronunciation.

4.    Do regular weekly recording exercises:
•    Record yourself reading, 
•    Listen to your tape, 
•    Make a note of sounds where you made a mistake in pronunciation,
•    Practice the sounds where you made a mistake with this book.

5.    Learn poems and read them expressively; modulate your voice; go to the theatre and join Toastmaster club in your area.

Lose your accent or your will lose your job!

A few weeks ago I had a Turkish client who works in London Stock Exchange. She said that her boss told her that if she doesn't lose her accent she will lose her job. Asides from the obvious Human Resource issues this statement creates, there is an underlying theme here that I have seen again and again. She told that her working environment is so fast and demanding, people simply don't have patience to try and comprehend accents that are unfamiliar to them.
This experience is typical for the multiple foreign workers who have been fortunate enough to land work in the UK. Many other struggle to even get past the interview stage due to inherent prejudices against accents by hiring managers.

Yes, we should be promoting equal rights opportunities for all workers and yes, we should be stamping out prejudices like the one experienced by my client in the workplace. However, the reality is that these prejudices or opinions are not something that will disappear. They have been part of society since we began and will continue to be so.

What can be done therefore to address this challenge?
The choices unfortunately are limited. The only person who can really affect change is the person with the accent! I have seen and worked with many people who have struggled in their professional life and who have been held back because of an accent. It is surprisingly easy to overcome and to change one's accent but stay tuned to this blog to read more stories of how accents have affected people's career progression and professional (and sometimes personal) success!

X Factor Judge Cheryl Cole Dropped From Show Because Of Accent

Author: Kelly West published: 2011-05-25 20:47:53

If the real reason Cheryl Cole was dropped as a judge from Fox’s upcoming U.S. remake of the popular U.K. talent competition The X Factor is to be believed, the producers are underestimating the American public’s intelligence, or at the very least, our ability to understand a British accent, to an almost insulting degree. 

TMZ is reporting that Cheryl Cole has been dropped from the upcoming Fox talent competition The X Factor because producers were “concerned her English accent would be too difficult for an American audience to understand.” Just for some frame of reference, below is a video featuring Cole on the British X Factor. Watch it and see if you can figure out what she’s saying. Sure, she has an accent but would that really be an issue for American viewers? Simon’s been speaking with a British accent for an American audience for over a decade and somehow we’ve all managed to figure out what he’s talking about. Interpreting Paula Abdul’s commentary, on the other hand, was sometimes a challenge. 

Speaking of Abdul, TMZ adds that they were told that there is a “lack of chemistry” between Abdul and Cole. Whether that’s vague, insider-speak for “they don’t like each other,” or there’s simply something off in the dynamic between the two, it’s likely that it played at least some part in Cole being dropped and reportedly replaced by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, who was originally set to co-host the show. If one of the two had to go, it’s logical that the producers would keep the more familiar face around. 

Accents can be toned down. This is just speculation, but I’m calling drama on this one.