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!