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June 20, 2012

Starting Spoken English Coaching

To start Spoken English coaching with Jennifer, you’ll have to submit a short recording of yourself.

In this recording, I am looking for three elements:
  1. Words / names
  2. Spelling of words / names
  3. Numbers
In the video below, I have given an example of what you can include in a recording, for me to analyze.

I suggest that you create a fake person and introduce me to that person. In this introduction, you will have to:
  • Give me a short introduction about this person.
  • Tell me their name, along with the spelling of the name.
  • Give me their fake address, including house number, street name, city, state, and zip code.
  • Spell the name of their street and city, and also, if required, the state in which they live.
  • Provide their fake phone number.
Do not practice the script before recording. Speak using your normal speed, intonation, voice, accent, and pronunciation. This will give us a good base to work on. If you practice, we will not get an accurate analysis of where to start.

Feel free to listen to the video for the example of an introduction I have given of a fake person named Malathi Rajkumar. If you are unable to view the video, scroll down for the text format of the introduction. Feel free to use this in your recording if you like. Remember, do not practice much!

Text of Voice Accent Screen:
Hi I am Jennifer Kumar (add your name here), and I am a real person. But, I’d like to introduce you to Malathi Rajkumar. She’s not a real person, but she’s a character I’m using for this example. Malathi Rajkumar is getting ready to move to America. Can you guess why? She is getting married to an Indian who lives there. Big surprise, right? But, the good news for Malathi is that she will not lose her independence when she moves to America. Many Indians live in the suburbs. And, Malathi has heard from her friends in the suburbs that it’s very difficult to get around because they do not know how to drive, and they are actually a little bit scared to learn driving in America when they first come there. So, she was a little worried that she’d be stuck in the suburbs. But, she’s actually pretty excited to hear that her husband lives in the city of Chicago. So, because of this she will be able to easily access busses and other forms of public transportation and she can go to the bookstore or library or do her grocery shopping on her own while her husband is at work. So, they get to spend more quality time together. That’s great, right? So, I am gonna give you her name and spell it to you and her address and her phone number if would like to contact her. Now, again, this is all fictional, it’s not real. So, Malathi Rajkumar – her name is spelled M – A – L – A – T – H – I, and Rajkumar, R – A – J – K – U – M – A – R. And, she lives at 70 West Monroe Avenue. The numbers 70 and 17 are often confused. I am saying seventy – seven – zero. Seventy Monroe Ave and Monroe is spelled, M – O – N – R – O – E. And, she lives in Chicago, Illinois. And, Illinois is kind of a funny state because we say it as Illinois, but, it’s actually has an ‘s’ on the end of the word Illinois. So, I’ll spell that for you – I – L – L – I – N – O – I – S. And, the zip code is 05219 and her phone number (623)555- 7894.

The text of the voice accent screen is purposefully unedited. The purpose of the voice accent screen is not only to hear your accent and pronunciation, but also your normal conversational style. This is because the main focus of my coaching is not to focus so much on academic English, but on conversational use of English in day to day life.

That being said, if you decide to reuse my text in your recording, you are mimicking my natural communication style. That’s suitable for now, but, if you are able to make a recording extracting the name, address, phone number, and spellings from this and add your own story, then I can hear your normal conversational style. That will give us the best starting point for this analysis.

Contact Jennifer today for fees and process.

Feel free to ask your questions and leave your comments below in the comment box.

Joe Valentine, MBA, PMP has asked:
This would be very useful for people considering moving to America particularly because the English taught in India is British English by Indian teachers who add their own brand of Indian English. How much time does it take on average to unlearn what is already learnt and learn something new for accent modification?

Jennifer, your coach has answered:
I have done a typical one-to-one program for 12 weeks.

I use two methods.

  • Option 1 is to collect a voice sample (as detailed in the video) and, offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Option 2 is that the concerned person contacts me directly with their concerns.

Generally, those who haven't yet moved to the US are likely choose option 1, and those already in the US or working in BPOs, MNCs, or with Americans and communicating often with Americans would chose option 2.

After collecting the initial input, I give suggestions on what part of the conversational style can be improved on or changed. Goal plans are individualized for each student. Together, we create two or three goals with sub-goals. We also allocate resources to help them achieve their goals (including time needed to practice / do homework), help from their friends, colleagues, family, and other resources as identified.

Though the ideal course duration is 12 weeks, I have seen cases, where the person is really motivated and has improved in as little as three sessions (with a typical session being two hours, once a week).

As with any self-improvement program, the motivation to improve has to be internal. But, of course once they see results and I give them feedback, it encourages them. I also must say that part of this process hinges on their relationship with me (or the coach they choose). The relationship can make or break the motivation and progress. I hope I have answered your question. Thanks for asking and feel free to ask more!

Jennifer Kumar is based out of Kochi (Cochin), in the state of Kerala in India. As she is a consultant, she holds coaching sessions at your corporate, college, public space, over the phone, or your preferred internet voice program (for example, Skype). The eligibility criteria for this course are:
  • Students must pay before my services are rendered.
  • Students must have a grasp of basic English.
If you would like to contact Jennifer, her e-mail id is authenticjourneys [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thank you for editing this article, Chris Sufi. Chris Sufi is a freelance editor who lives in Bangalore, India. Her personal interest in language and communication inspires her to contribute through proofreading and editing. She can be contacted here.  

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.