Triangle Speech Services Logo 600 dpi

Communication Matters

June 2016    Issue 93            

Take the "Fear" out of "Feedback"       
In This Issue
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 now on sale at 50% off for  $10.00 + S & H and applicable sales taxes.   


We can help you repair communication breakdowns by skillfully requesting feedback.
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.

  In June 2014 I had just returned from an amazing and delightful tour of "Undiscovered Italy,"  the coastal towns on the "heel" of the boot, on the Adriatic Sea.  

   Our Italian tour guide was a dynamic young lady, a native of Bari, Italy in the region, whose English was very fluent but not always exactly correct.  She was lively, friendly, interacted positively with the American group as well as with natives but I found myself really wishing I could find a way to give her constructive feedback discreetly.  She would say, "I want to point you the" (I want to point out to you) or "Let me give you informations about..." ("information is an irregular plural with no "s") or she would mispronounce words because of "spelling interference" so "peasants" ("peh") would sound like "peesants"  because of the "pea."  


  First, I told her that her English was very clear and easy to understand and that I was really impressed with the depth of her detailed knowledge about all the old towns, castles, churches and other places we visited. (I gave honest, positive feedback.)  I told her that I was a speech therapist specializing in accent modification. (I established my credentials).  Then I asked her if I could correct some of her her pronunciation and grammar since she had told the group that she was still working to improve her English even more. She said, "Of course." (I asked permission to give corrective feedback.) In a private conversation, I gave her immediate feedback only for a few words like "focus" since she said "uh" instead of the sliding, rounded American "oh" and I'll let you imagine what it sounded like she was saying!!  Then I said I'd like to write down other features with corrections in my small notepad and that I would organize my notes and give her one piece of paper at the end of the tour. (I kept the feedback confidential and didn't correct her in front of everyone) She was very happy with this arrangement. 
Accents are a special case! You may  need to give permission to receive feedback.
greyscale-dr-advice.jpg  If you are a doctor or a college professor or a manager, you will definitely have to give your patients, students or "direct reports" permission to tell you when they don't understand you. Accents are regarded as personal, not able to be corrected (like a disability) and therefore not polite to mention.  Indeed, if you give permission and if your listener tells you that he or she didn't understand a word or phrase, you just can't repeat it because you won't be able to fix the accent feature on the spot. You can (a) slow down, (b) rephrase and/or (c) spell the word.
If you are lucky, your listener will repeat what he or she thought you said, "Oh do you mean 'skeleton'?" (The Italian physiology professor had
said, "skelletoni.")
For more on this subject, read "Receive feedback with grace and dignity" by Susan Heathfield.

   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