One of the most common questions people ask our accent coaches is: “How should I deal with mistakes as I learn an American accent?” Our professional accent reduction coaches are some of the best people to ask. Many of them have experienced the challenges of learning a new language and accent themselves. Our coaches are...
One of the most common questions people ask our accent coaches is: “How should I deal with mistakes as I learn an American accent?”
Our professional accent reduction coaches are some of the best people to ask. Many of them have experienced the challenges of learning a new language and accent themselves. Our coaches are masters at handling the inevitable mistakes that happen along the way. They have the standard American accent and can help you master it, too.
You may believe that mistakes are harmful and wish to avoid them. Most people associate errors with failure, and when made in front of others, they can be humiliating or embarrassing. No one wants these things. Many people allow the fear of mistakes and failure to prevent them from reaching their goals. We don’t want this to happen to you, and if you’re like our students, it won’t.
We know that a sense of failure can be especially difficult regarding language, speech, and accent. This is why many of our students enroll in accent coaching in the first place. No one – and we mean no one – wants to speak inadequately in front of others. However, there’s simply no way to avoid mistakes as you embark on accent correction and learn a new accent. The occurrence of mistakes is positive because they play a critical role in your learning process.
Mistakes are Positive and Constructive
The most successful people on the planet fail on purpose. They know that mistakes are necessary. They embrace their mistakes and use them to propel progress. Sim Sitkin, a Duke University professor, calls this practice intelligent failure. People who master the art of making mistakes not only have to deal with errors, they learn to want to. They ensure that their mistakes are helpful.
You don’t have to be hyper-successful to make mistakes useful. Anyone can learn to benefit from mistakes that might otherwise make them cringe. So, what can you do when mistakes happen? How can you handle them, so they don’t discourage you, bring you down, or embarrass you unnecessarily? How can you stay empowered and effective on your journey to learn the American accent?
How To Deal: 4 Expert Tips from our Accent Reduction Coaches
1- Accept Your Mistakes
Mistakes are not only inevitable; they’re signs that you’re moving in the right direction. If you’re working with an accent coach, they can help you focus on the positive and embrace the process.
Our students thrive on growth. But change can be uncomfortable, to put it mildly. Development involves doing, learning, thinking – and even becoming – new things to cultivate resilience on the path of growth, avoid perfectionism, and embrace the inevitability of mistakes.
Perfectionism is ugly. It can prevent your goal and make any movement toward it painful. Signs of perfectionism can be obvious or subtle.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- You endlessly procrastinate (paralyzing fear of making mistakes or failure).
- You put pressure on yourself to speak 100% correctly while making virtually no mistakes (all-or-nothing thinking).
- You’re critical of your speech or accent (highly critical).
- It’s not enough to learn the American accent – you must learn it impeccably within two weeks, by yourself, with no support (impossibly high standards).
- If you do not meet your unrealistic standard or benchmark, you attack your character or worthiness (focus on character defect).
- You feel defensive when you make a mistake, or making a mistake causes you to feel like a loser (low self-esteem, low self-empathy).
It’s normal to harbor some perfectionistic tendencies. But it’s time to address the issue if you find them disrupting or preventing you from reaching your goals.
2- Find a Safe Place to Practice Your American Accent
Practicing a new accent at work or out in the world can be stressful. Instead, find a safe place to do it. Most people prefer to learn a new accent in a specialized class. These classes are safe spaces where you can learn and make mistakes without the pressure of judgment.
Class goals generally involve reducing your native accent and developing a new “American” accent. This process is often called accent correction or reduction. This type of class is essentially accent coaching that teaches you a new accent. Our accent reduction classes, for example, teach you how to speak like an American.
While some classes happen in a group format, we offer 1-on-1 accent reduction coaching via SKYPE to ensure that lessons are tailored to your needs and native accent. An accent coach will keep it positive, safe, private, and productive so you don’t fear making natural mistakes.
3- Build on Your Mistakes
If you want to learn the American accent, build on your mistakes. Don’t ignore or hide them. During accent reduction coaching, your coach will hone in on your mistakes and what you do well. They may mirror the error to you and explain why it is a mistake. They’re not telling you you’re “wrong” – they’re helping you!
You’d be surprised how many of our students can’t hear their accent mistakes. Just take a look at what this student says:
I didn’t know I was making so many mistakes when I spoke in English. I think my accent has gotten much better, and I really enjoy my sessions with my coach. He is super charismatic. – Accent Advisor Student
Most people can’t hear their mistakes because their brain is not yet primed to notice and differentiate between particular sounds. However, to learn the American accent and speak confidently, you must become aware of your mistakes and learn to catch them on your own to correct them. But a coach can help you reach that goal.
Your accent reduction coach will spend time helping you address mistakes and demonstrating exactly how to create the right sound. They will develop drills and practice the correct sound with you until you get it right.
4- What to Say If You Make a Mistake
When you fall, don’t stay down. It’s often helpful to prepare for mistakes to know what to say when they happen. Breathe, smile, and try any of these phrases when you make a mistake:
- Let me rephrase . . .
- What I meant to say was . . .
- Let me do that one more time . . .
- What I mean to say is . . .
These quick phrases are great to keep in mind so you can get right back up and keep talking.
Accent Correction Works – Don’t Give Up!
Whether you sign up for accent reduction coaching or not, don’t give up. You can implement these tips and mindsets while working on an American accent.
If you want the support of your 1-on-1 accent coach, check out our plans and pricing. Our 850+ 5-star reviews make our accent training top-rated on Google and Trustpilot. So come learn to sound like an American with us.