Monthly Archives: March 2008

Facebook – Web page

For those of you interested, I have just created a Facebook page for 3V Communications. You can look at photos and videos, but more importantly you can connect with people like you – interested in communication skills. Join the group, be a fan! Start a discussion, comment on one.

Here is the link:


Accent Reduction – Top 10 Tips Cont’d

6 – Control your volume, and stress key content words to keep listeners focused. Content words are nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, numbers, and other descriptor words.

7 – Control your rhythm and pace. It is not a race! Use medium speed, and medium volume.

8 – Practice with tongue-twisters, alliteration and poetry. Get control of your speech!

9 – Keep a list of trouble spots (i.e. words, sounds) to practice morning and night in a logbook or diary. Build your own personalized textbook to practice every day.

10 – When in doubt of the correct pronunciation, use a good North American dictionary or British English dictionary, depending on where you are living or studying, to check the phonetic instructions of sounds and syllable stress.

Enjoy learning English, enjoy your new surroundings, and by all means practice accent reduction tips every day until your confidence in communication improves. Then, you will be able to speak with clarity and will find that your accent is no longer holding you back from achieving your goals. Learn to improve your accent, and then learn to speak through your accent!

Accent Reduction Top 10 Tips – Cont’d

3 – Memorize useful North American or British slang, depending on where you are, and current idioms and expressions, etc. to integrate them whenever possible. If you are not sure if an idiom or expression is appropriate, ask a teacher, tutor or coach, or a trusted native English speaking friend.

4 – Buy a pronunciation book. Check for CDs in the back and whether they are British or American English. Adapt to your environment as best as you can with your accent. 

5 – Use a mirror to observe your lips, tongue and teeth positions, and observe others for correct positioning. Practice in the mirror every day. A good time is right after you are finished brushing your teeth.

Accent Reduction – Top 10 Tips

It can be very exciting studying for a year or two in a foreign country, and every year thousands of ESL students travel to English-speaking countries to have an adventure, take a break from rigorous (i.e. difficult) studying at home, and learn some English.

At the same time, immigration is up in some countries, especially Canada, where the government has now incorporated more support, more programs and more funding to ensure that immigrants who arrive here can get employed a lot faster than what is currently the case. However, most students and immigrants will tell you that their perceived lack of English capability and their self-imposed shyness with using it can create a real barrier to not only employment, but all around enjoyment of their new or host country.

I have had the pleasure of teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) students and immigrants accent reduction since 1998, and have come to rely on a few tips to help the learner reduce their accent quickly.  Without further ado (i.e. delay), I give you my top 10 tips for accent reduction. Today will only be #1 and 2. Check my blog tomorrow for the next 2 tips, and so on.

1 – Imitate the desired accent and expressions of the people around you e.g. co-workers, T.V. and film characters, teachers, etc. This is not silly, it is vital (i.e. very important!)

2 – Record yourself and check your progress continuously. This way you can actually see/hear your progress, because it is easy to think that you are not making progress over time.

More to come tomorrow!

How to Communicate with Confidence – Tip

Medium is the rule.

Walk at a medium pace. Walking too fast gives the impression that you are hurried, unorganized, late, not paying attention and not available to speak to people. Walking too slow looks like you are tired, lack energy, unsure of where you are going, and again not paying attention.

Talk at a medium speed. Speaking fast comes off as if you may be trying to trick people (i.e. a fast-talking salesperson) or trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes. Speaking slowly sounds like you are unsure of what you are talking about, hesitant, and also gives way too much opportunity for someone to interrupt you or cut you off before your thought is complete. It may also sound unintelligent.

Finally, use medium volume for the current environment, which is to say don’t be the softest speaker in the group which looks weak and unsure, and don’t be the loudest which comes off as attention-seeking behaviour and may look like you are arrogant and over-confident. Medium is the key, with a nice rhythm of pauses and stressed key words.

Incorporate this simple but powerful tool today!

Interested in Accent Reduction?

Then watch this clip of Steve Martin in “The Pink Panther” to see how difficult it can be, especially if you want to rush it. Heck even if you are not interested in A/R, just watch this clip now – have a laugh!

I have been coaching accent reduction specifically since 2001. You have to have a sense of humour about it at times, but if you practice regularly and don’t give up, you can indeed reduce your accent and speak more clearly.  Here is the same video link, FYI.

Follow Your Passion

This post is not mainstream communication but rather closer to my life-coaching and entrepreneurial roots. To make a long story short my cousins whom I grew up with watching horror flicks have entered the world of self-employment and have registered a small business. I have had many talks with these two good guys on the ins and outs of small business, and on staying motivated to be true to yourself and your passion. Well they have something to be proud of for sure!

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to introduce to you The Brothers Gore (AKA my cousins, Jason and Jeff DeRushie), and their greatest accomplishments to date as horror movie special effects experts.


Facebook Page:

I am so proud of them for following their passion and dream. They work so well together and are only going to improve. They are a perfect example of why we need to be in tune with ourselves and why we need to listen to the ‘self-talk’ that tries to guide us in the right direction, but often we ignore it because we think it is a crazy idea, or financially irresponsible. I too went through that phase of self-doubt and had to learn a new way of listening to myself, in an empowering way.

When I teach others to communicate with confidence, it also means teaching them to communicate to themselves in a positive way. Otherwise can you truly build confidence? I don’t think so.  That’s why I offer confidence coaching and ebooks – because we all need a little more confidence and belief in ourselves, right?  🙂

Good job guys – keep up the gory work!  🙂

Leaving Moscow – Thoughts On Doing International Business

Today was my last day of training the fine folks at WorldMark Corporation/Oil Technology Overseas here in Moscow, Russia. Although this was not my first international training mission, it is certainly one of my fondest. The reason is that in a relatively short time (6 weeks) I have acclimatized myself quickly to a new culture, gained valuable insight into my business and most importantly, have forged strong, deep friendships with people that I know I will see again.

International training (or travel for that matter) is not for everyone, and although I am not trying to make myself out like a hero I will say that I do have the right personality and characteristics for extended travel. What might they be, you ask?

I believe first and foremost that you have to be able to suspend judgment. We all are ethnocentric – we see the world through our own values from our cultural upbringing. When abroad it is essential that you have an open mind and even a curiosity for things that are not familiar to you. Can you have a frank but still polite discussion with others on the deadly topics of politics, religion or other taboos in society? Will it end in an argument or a smile? Will you risk sacrificing a fat business contract for the sake of your ego or worse yet, the beliefs of older generations?

Also I believe that when traveling (for business especially) you need to have a sense of humour. Bad things may happen. Things that were promised might get modified. The question here is can you handle a little turbulence? If all in all you are involved with a great company then I am sure you can negotiate respectfully. Pay attention to things that were given that were not promised. Do things balance out in the end?

Lastly I would like to say a business traveler needs a love of language, as language is indeed a window to the culture itself. Even when visiting a country for a short time you should learn at least a few greetings and expressions. It is the quickest way to start to understand your new friends and business partners. Not just their words, but their intention behind the words, and also why they do the things they do that may seem strange to you. In today’s world of internet access there is no excuse why you cannot download a few pages to study on your way there or shortly after you arrive.

I could go on perhaps listing other important characteristics of an international traveler but for now I think I have hit the few critical characteristics near to my heart.

As I head back to Canada tomorrow I will be smiling, thinking of the good times I have had both personally and professionally, and although I miss my home and the people there I cannot escape the feeling that I will soon miss Moscow just as much, if only for a short time.

Thanks for the memories.

Do You Speak the Same Way to a Taxi Driver and a CEO?

Greetings everyone!

Sorry it has been a while – Moscow has been keeping me busy (but for only one more week now). I thought you might like to consider the question in the title – from a communications perspective, anyway.

Rebecca MacDonald, Canadian entrepreneur and co-founder of Energy Savings Income Fund, was recently asked a simple question in a business magazine interview: how do you stay nice, warm and down-to-earth in a (sometimes) cutthroat world?

Here is an excerpt of how she replied:

“I’m very comfortable in my own skin. I know who I am. I love people, and I have a great deal of respect for every individual. If I’m talking to a taxi driver, I will enjoy the conversation the same way I’d enjoy a conversation with the CEO of the bank.”

What do you think of her response? How many of you can say the same? (I hope many!)

The truth is that sometimes we choose to ignore people in the service industry, or only listen half heartedly. And then when we meet a ‘big boss’ or have an important interview, or date for that matter (same format sometimes, right?), we get nervous and uptight and ask our friends “what should I say? What can we talk about?” etc.

Why do we feel so different? A person is a person, right?

I aim to feel no different talking to a CEO, a taxi driver, a lawyer, a religious person, a homeless person, a hot woman, or a millionaire. I talk to these people on a regular basis. I care about who they are, their life experiences and I am interested to learn something new in my life.

I also want to make them feel good, or at the very least comfortable talking to me. I take on that responsibility every day to go forth and build relationships. I honestly enjoy talking to people, and it comes from sincerity and empathy. I do not force myself – I want to.

I think we can all learn something from Rebecca MacDonald’s response. Even when you become rich and successful, do not change who you are inside. Do not lose touch with certain members of society. And do not stop enjoying conversations with various people in various circumstances. Simple pleasures are the best!

All the best to you and your next conversation.