My job has recently been transferred from the UK to an Asian country. With the move from my established position to a new challenging role in a new environment, I suddenly found myself lacking my usual level of confidence...

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Positive Voice Blog

The British accent and common mistakes : Part 1

Posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 by Positivevoice

As helpful as it is to know what you should do in order to speak English well, it is also important to be aware of the common mistakes made by native, British speakers. Throughout the UK, there are a range of different dialects and regional accents. In areas such as Essex and London, many people confuse ‘l’ and ‘w’ in words such as still, middle and well, so don’t be surprised if you hear someone saying ‘I’m very wew, thank you’ when they mean ‘Very well’. This may sound unlikely to you, but it is becoming more and more prevalent. I have also worked with clients from the West country and Birmingham who make the same mistake.

Sometimes this mistake is just a habit that has been picked up, and other times it is due to a lack of strength in the tongue. If this is the case, there is a great exercise for strengthening the tongue. All you need to do is take a soft sweet, or something similar and hold it up against the middle of the palate with the tip of the tongue for as long as you can. Ideally, this should be repeated three times per day until you are able to make the movement without any difficulty.

So, now that you know what not to do when it comes to the pronunciation of the consonant sound ‘l’, here is what you should be doing :

In the photograph, below, i demonstrate the mouth positioning for 'l':

This sound differs slightly depending on where in the word it is positioned. It is a voiced sound, which means that air passes over the vocal chords creating a sound.

There is one IPA symbol for this sound, ‘l’, even though it varies slightly depending on whether it is positioned before or after the vowel (or diphthong): let vs tell, for instance. When the ‘l’ sound comes before the vowel, it is fairly straight forward: To produce this sound, maintain a neutral mouth positioning (the lips rest gently apart), place the tip of your tongue on the palate just before the front teeth, without actually touching the front teeth, create a little pressure as you begin the vowel that follows and then release to continue with your word. At this point, the middle of the tongue should be slightly raised. If you slow down the sound, you will notice there is a little extra sound that is not represented by an ipa symbol, it is similar to the vowel sound ʊ, as in the word ‘could’.

This extra sound is more apparent when the vowel or diphthong comes before the ‘l’, as in words such as ‘meal’. Even without slowing down my speech, that is to say, in normal speech, this extra sound is very much apparent and if you do not pronounce it, the word won’t sound the same. If you’re still a little confused, please do watch my video on this subject. This is an extract from my Digital course in British accent coaching.

This sound differs slightly depending on where in the word it is positioned. It is a voiced sound, which means that air passes over the vocal chords creating a sound.

There is one IPA symbol for this sound, ‘l’, even though it varies slightly depending on whether it is positioned before or after the vowel (or diphthong): let vs tell, for instance. When the ‘l’ sound comes before the vowel, it is fairly straight forward: To produce this sound, maintain a neutral mouth positioning (the lips rest gently apart), place the tip of your tongue on the palate just before the front teeth, without actually touching the front teeth, create a little pressure as you begin the vowel that follows and then release to continue with your word. At this point, the middle of the tongue should be slightly raised. If you slow down the sound, you will notice there is a little extra sound that is not represented by an ipa symbol, it is similar to the vowel sound ʊ, as in the word ‘could’.

This extra sound is more apparent when the vowel or diphthong comes before the ‘l’, as in words such as ‘meal’. Even without slowing down my speech, that is to say, in normal speech, this extra sound is very much apparent and if you do not pronounce it, the word won’t sound the same. If you’re still a little confused, please do watch my video on this subject. This is an extract from my Digital course in British accent coaching.

l from Francesca Gordon-Smith on Vimeo.



Overcome anxiety in one simple step

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2017 by Positivevoice

Anxiety is a state that comes from within. Yes, of course external factors play a part, but the final decision as to whether you feel anxious is yours. Anxiety can be very useful, as it acts as a warning signal; If you feel anxious about an upcoming commitment, it usually means that something needs to be changed. If you need to pack for your holiday, the anxiety serves as a reminder to finish your packing. If you have a public speaking engagement coming up, perhaps the anxiety is a reminder that you need to prepare your speech. If you have been invited to your ex's wedding, then the anxiety may just be a warning sign that you shouldn't go! Only you can decipher your anxiety. Ask yourself BOLD questions and you will receive BOLD answers.

If your anxiety relates to things outside your control or you struggle to find a rational explanation for it, then my latest hypnotherapy audio may be just what you are looking for. Let go of anxiety now is available on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon music.



The Confidence Secret

Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2016 by Positivevoice


When someone comes to me saying they lack confidence, have low self-esteem, anxiety about socialising, fear of public speaking or any similar challenge regarding communicating in everyday life situations, I ask a LOT of questions.

There is not one solution to suit everyone, as we are all individuals who have different life experiences. This is not to say that you shouldn't read books, listen to audios or watch videos on the subject. You will find help and comfort in all these things, but please do not expect one solution to work for everyone.

It is for this reason that we all need to connect to our intuition and become our own coach. It can be as simple as asking yourself several questions:

How do i feel?

What does this mean?

What can i do to change this?

The above questions are the ones i routinely recommend, but you can use your intuition and knowledge about yourself to personalise these questions.

Any negative emotions that come up for you are simply your body's way of sending you a sign; it is up to you to interpret these signs in the most positive and empowering way possible and then take action to find solutions. When you stop receiving the sign, you have succeeded.

Example Scenario
"I find certain people really grumpy and rude around me and this knocks my confidence and makes me feel rubbish when i am around them. They don't like me or respect me and this is why i have no confidence..."

This is just one possible story that someone could be running in their head.

Let's confront and analyse the above statements:

No one can make you feel something, you choose to feel it. What encouraged you to choose 'feeling rubbish', as a response? Some people would have chosen humour, others would feel anger and others wouldn't notice. Did they 'make you feel rubbish' or did the feeling rubbish come before? I wonder what would happen if you chose a different approach? Perhaps they would feel better too. Have you ever noticed how infectious happiness can be?

How do you know that they don't like or respect you? Do you have any proof? Do you like and respect them? Would you like to be like them? You can either model their behavior (if you like it) or create a behavior that allows you to lead by example. I encourage my daughter to do just this for her baby brother.

You can choose to consider people like this to be your greatest teachers; they demonstrate how not to behave and through challenging you can act as a catalyst for you to become stronger and wiser. Perhaps, for instance, they are the reason that you are reading this post right now and thinking about how you can become more confident.

The above scenario might not be exactly what is occurring for you right now, but take my responses and see if you can do this for yourself. Take a notebook and write down how you are feeling. Question it and turn it on it's head. Find positives and solutions. If you can do this, you can be your own coach.

Whilst confidence is far from being skin deep, self care and self-love play a big part. If you look good, you will feel better and if you feel better, you will look good, so look after your looks and your health.

One for the women: I'm a big fan of this new Vegan brand: Maelle (paraben free, sls free, phthalates free, fragrance free, dermatalogically tested, cruelty free, peta approved, Leaping bunny certified and vegan).



So much so, in fact, that i am going to start giving their products away at my events next year and generally recommend them to everyone i meet. You can get yours here: Maelle Beauty Products. I find the products pictured above save the day when my baby has kept me up all night and my sister is raving about the mascara! Look out for: My new YouTube channel for all women looking to be more confident and my hypnotherapy downloads soon to go on sale on iTunes and Amazon!






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