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

A Simpler Way to Reduce Your Accent

Posted on Friday, September 02, 2016 by Positivevoice

For sometime now, i have intended to provide an alternative to face-to-face or skype lessons in accent reduction. My 6 month one-to-one course in accent reduction has proved a great success. Yet, i can't help thinking that i could work more effectively in order to help more people to improve their speech. To this end, i am creating a course that has been long awaited by many. A digital course in accent reduction. This does not replace one-to-one lessons, but can be taken as an alternative or alongside Skype lessons. I am now in the final editing phase and intend to launch the programme in the next two weeks.

This course is for anyone who would like to transform their accent or speak in a more polished manner. It is for both native speakers and those learning English as a foreign or second language. In addition to covering the 44 sounds presented in the international phonetic index, i also cover vocal projection, resonace, warm up exercises and mindset. Anyone who has taken Skype lessons with me, will be familiar with the course style and delivery. Having said this, almost all the content is new.

I am currently releasing sneak previews of the course via YouTube. Here is one such video:



Are You a Woman Working in a MAN'S WORLD ?

Posted on Saturday, July 02, 2016 by Positivevoice

This concept of working in, what is conceived to be, a ‘man’s world’ seems to be on the minds of many of my clients at the moment. I have coached women on voice, communication style and mindset. Yet, again and again, the one thing that changes everything is confidence. This doesn’t mean that inequality is all in your mind, but it does mean that changing the way that you think and feel about it can completely transform your situation.

 

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

William Shakespeare

Are Your Beliefs a Reflection of YOUR reality?

The best way to change your mind about something is to confront your current beliefs. You can either make a mental list or take out a pen and paper (whichever works best for you) and then follow these steps:

1.       Think of something that is holding you back in your work life: For example: ‘I don’t feel confident at work’, ‘I feel inadequate’, ‘I’m not good at my job’

2.       Make a list of your beliefs around your current, undesirable situation- include positive and negative beliefs

3.       Next to each belief (positive and negative), give some solid evidence that this is true

4.       Next to each negative belief, highlight something that disproves it- perhaps you recently won a new project or received good feedback at work.

5.       Finally, remember why you were hired in the first place; someone believed in you. Who was this?

What do these answers say about you right now? (Remember that you are not your behaviour, these answers are just a reflection of your current strategies)

Now

1.       Look at the people around you at work. Do you respect them? Would you like to be like them? Are they good people?

2.       Do you respect yourself? Are you happy being you? Are you a good person?

This blog isn’t about them, it’s about YOU.

If you respect them, but not yourself or feel any unhappiness around being YOU; ask yourself this; who am I when I’m at my best? (What am I doing? Who am I with? How do people see me?) How can you be this person more of the time?

For a moment, see this person who challenges you as your greatest teacher. They may be showing you not just how to behave, but how NOT to behave. Anyone or anything that challenges you, can only serve to make you stronger.

You always have a choice, you can become the victim of your situation or you can take responsibility for your life. You will know when you are acting the role of victim because you will feel a sense of weakness and loss of control. When you rise to challenges and take positive actions to improve your situation, you will feel a sense of inner strength and empowerment.

You always have a choice; either stay in your current situation and change the way you think and feel about it, so that you can find happiness and empowerment there, or move on to greener pastures. Whatever you decide, make the more empowering of the two choices.

Remember that you can't change others, but you always have the power to change yourself. Something amazing will happen when you change the way you look at, and feel about, your situation. Some people call this 'confidence', others call it 'being positive', 'strong minded' or 'thick skinned'; it doesn't matter what you call it, only that you do it NOW.

      



Is Being Introverted Something You Have to Live with?

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Positivevoice


Recently, I worked with a client who claimed to be an introvert. Our coaching session went something like this:

One of the first questions I asked was, “How does this manifest itself?” He replied “I find that I’m not being myself at work”. “Who are you being then?” I asked. “Good question”, he replied, smiling.

When we are not ‘being ourselves’, it is impossible for others to connect with us, which means that we, quite simply, don’t build strong relationships. At work, this can make it hard for people to:

  1. Get to know us
  2. Realise they like us
  3. Build trust

Which are often 3 of the key steps, which precede a promotion.

How can this be overcome?

If you ‘claim’ to be an introvert, one of the first things you need to do is break down this belief. Before you can do this, you need to fully understand what this term means:

Synonyms for introvert

noun person who retreats mentally

  • brooder
  • egoist
  • egotist
  • loner
  • narcissist
  • solitary
  • wallflower
  • autist
  • self-observer

Being introverted is simply a strategy. People who are introverted quite simply ‘retreat mentally’ and over observe themselves. As with all strategies, this can be un-learned and new patterns of behaviour can be practiced and perfected.

How to do this?

Once you are aware of your specific strategies (everyone is a little different). Take the opposite of this and begin to practice it.

For example:

If you are too focused on yourself, use the following exercises to break that pattern:

    1. When you are walking somewhere, instead of thinking or even worse ‘worrying’ about things, observe your environment. Focus in on the colour of the leaves on the trees, the insects buzzing around, the birds in the trees, people walking by you (notice what they’re wearing and the expressions on their faces). This exercise should be done at least once a day for at least a week before you notice any shifts. If you keep it up, it will soon become a habit.
    1. When you meet people for the first time, show a real interest in them; ask them simple questions: “What’s your name?”, “Where do you live?”, “What do you do for a living?”, “Where are you from?” These are just conversation starters, what you are looking for here is a common interest. ‘Oh, you live just outside Paris’. ‘What’s it like?’ “How does it compare to living in England?” “I’ve always wanted to live in France”. Almost everyone loves talking about themselves. The only people who might not are introverts, but the only thing worse than not being asked questions is the silence that forces a fellow introvert to start or maintain a conversation, and this, of course, causes pressure rather than flow. So, jump in quickly and start the meeting as you wish to go on!
    1. When you speak to people give them your undivided attention; notice the expression on their face, the clothes they are wearing and the tone of their voice.** Essentially, this is part of Active Listening

**Again, practice this exercise at least once a day, if not during every conversation you have. Keep this up for two weeks and you will start to notice changes emerging in how you feel.

 These three exercises work very well because they, quite literally, distract an introvert from over internalising their focus. Being introverted is a behaviour that has been learned. All you need to do to break this strategy is to do the opposite. It may feel unnatural to start with, but as always practice makes perfect.

Make it your mission to seek out sociable people who externalise their focus and notice how they do it. I learned this whole phenomenon by doing just this. I was in my early 20s and I was on work placement at Apple Computers. It wasn’t going majorly well, and I had become a little introverted. One day, I saw a young woman waiting in reception. She wasn’t sitting down thinking (or worrying), though. “Wow”, she exclaimed. “Those are gorgeous flowers”, “What are they?” This is all I witnessed of the exchange she had with the receptionist, but it was enough to make me wonder who he was. Shortly afterwards, she sat down at a desk very near mine. She was the new Head of Public Relations. I liked her immediately. She was completely herself with everyone; kind, smiley and genuine. I immediately felt lighter and more energized for the remaining weeks of my placement.

You see, by ‘being real’, you will inspire others to do the same and will find yourself ‘connecting better’ with everyone.

 Good luck! 





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