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Communication Matters

February 2014    Issue 68       

Overcome The Bias That Accented Speakers
Lack "Political Skill"      
In This Issue
Huang's Research Project
Combat These Biases
TELL US YOUR STORYFeatured Article
Business  Woman Lecturing

If you are a foreign born professional, we would like to hear from you. We are very interested in the story of how you are overcoming self-doubt and learning new skills.

We would be happy to feature your story in a future issue.
trOur Mission is to help our clients transform their accents from a communication barrier to a charming cultural flavor using "listener friendly" speech. 


Order Mastering Meaning from today online.   For an autographed copy contact Judith Bergman through our web site. (Pay for autographed copies with check by mail or credit card phone order only). $19.99 + S & H and applicable sales taxes.   


We want to help you overcome biases against promotion to a management position or funding of your venture.
Go to our Archive Home Page to read more fascinating newsletters.

  Triangle Speech Services is the private, professional practice of Judith L. Bergman, a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) who specializes in foreign accent and regional dialect modification and related communication skills. I offer customized, individual tutorials to corporate-sponsored and self-enrolled individuals who speak English fluently but with moderate to severe accents that create challenges and frustrations in the workplace.

  Thanks to my colleague Lynda Katz Wilner of Successfully Speaking in Maryland, for including this Wharton School of Business K@W article link to The Glass Ceiling Facing Nonnative English Speakers in her recent newsletter. Please read this before proceeding because we will be writing about strategies to "mitigate" (make milder, less intense or less severe) yet another prejudice against professionals seeking advancement to a managerial position OR venture funding for their own business enterprises.  


 Huang's Research Project: Defining and Investigating "Political Skill" Biases   


  Laura Huang, a professor of management at the Wharton School of Business defines "political skill" as "not only effective and competent communication" but "also the ability to be perceptive and to influence others." She and her co-authors ran two experiments which were reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology in November 2013. In the first, when managers were given  a middle-management job description, a resume, a photo,  and audio clips of interview excerpts, their responses (questionnaire and hiring decision) for equally matched candidates showed that accented speakers were 16% less likely to be offered executive positions.

   In the second study, participants who approve venture capital funding listened to 90 entrepreneurial pitches given over a three year period at three U.S. top technology pitch competitions. Entrepreneurs with nonnative accents were 23% less likely  to receive venture funding. 


How Managerial Candidates and Entrepreneurs Seeking Funding Can Combat These Biases business-presentation.jpg

Athletic coaches and their teams study videos of opposing teams for a reason! The best way to "win" is to know what strategies you need to use.  Biases are wrong but they are a fact of life. Overcome them by demonstrating that they don't apply to YOU! 
Here are some practical steps that you can take and some resources to enable you to take them:
1. Consider getting expert help reducing your non-native accent. How many times in a day do you have to clarify and repeat yourself at meetings, in conversations, on the phone? Accept that in spoken English, the sound carries the meaning and that it is difficult to do business with someone one doesn't understand.
2. When you are considering a program, ask questions. How individualized and customized is the training? Does the training address areas other than "speech sounds?"  What about the following areas: Intonation?  Understanding and Using Business and Social Idioms? Presentation Skills?
3. Avail yourself of all the training that your company offers in leadership and management skills. 
4. Find every opportunity in your current position or with your own business to practice all of your new skills so that you can say to your interviewer or investor such things as,  "I have been very vocal in advocating for the resources that my team members need to complete our projects"   or "I listen well and have been responsive to my customers in these ways."
5. Check out these resources:
  • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek 
  • 5 Steps to Professional Presence: How to Project Confidence, Competence, and Credibility at Work, Bixler and Dugan
  • Slangman Guide to Biz Speak: Slang, Idioms & Jargon Used in Business English (1,2, & 3 with CDs), Slangman David Burke
  • How To Work A Room: The Ultimate Guide to Savvy Socializing In Person and Online, Susan Roane
  • Wild Woman's Guide to Etiquette: Saving the World One Handshake at a Time, Sharon Hill  
   We invite you to click on Triangle Speech Services  to visit our informative website. Our goal is always to provide information, inspiration and encouragement since these are essential components of any successful learning experience.
  If you are seriously considering enrolling yourself or an employee in an individual tutorial with us or simply want to talk to us about our programs, please contact us through the contact page of our web site


Judith L. Bergman M.A. CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist and Corporate Speech Trainer
Founder & Director of Triangle Speech Services