Around the world, at this very minute, tens of millions of people are taking classes at language schools; some are using YouTube to learn to speak and listen, and of course, many are learning in their grade schools, high schools, and universities. Many of these people will be required in their careers to use English, so they are often very serious in their approach to learning.
We advise all learners of English to be aware of P.A.R: Pronunciation, Accent, and Rate. It is important to note these three items to ensure listeners can understand the speaker easily. So let’s look at these items a little more closely.
PRONUNCIATION: The way a word is spoken.
ACCENT: A distinctive way of pronouncing a language, especially one associated with a particular country, demography, or social class.
RATE: How many words are created in a minute. In other words, how fast are you creating speech?
It is easy to imagine that any speaker from any country would have a hard time being understood in any language if their pronunciation was incorrect or they had a strong accent or spoke too quickly!
In fact, one of my first clients here in India told me that her boss wanted to advance her position within the company but could not do it. She would be working with the European markets, and her English was just too hard to understand.
When she and I worked together, it became clear P.A.R was the reason. She spoke at an incredibly fast rate. Unfortunately, her pronunciation was faulty in many words; her strong accent didn’t help either, so very few words were understandable.
HOW TO SOLVE P.A.R PROBLEMS:
As a worldwide company, we help clients with this problem frequently. English is the international language of business and is an expected skill for successful communication for anyone who uses the English language.
It has never been easier to learn English or other languages than it is today. Apps and talking dictionaries abound, with several modes of learning. Use these to learn the proper Pronunciation of a word.
Accent is a regional thing. Be aware of your preferences for word use and any sensitivity for your listeners due to their own local accent. It is critical that you do not mimic or talk like your listeners. Simply be aware and make slight adjustments where needed.
For Rate, make a conscious effort to slow yourself down. For example, record an audio or video of yourself and practice saying a short speech more slowly. Use more strategic pausing to allow listeners to absorb your meaning and intent. This is especially helpful when you are using technical terms or content that may be new to your listeners.
By practicing, your P.A.R. will be under control. A good speech coach can also be very helpful in developing your speaking and communication skills.