I’ve been in Hong Kong for two weeks now but before I left I picked up on an amusing local news story which I thought you might enjoy. Birmingham City Council have recently installed a new automated phone system provided by a northern company. The automated voice speaks with a Northern accent which would be fine except for the fact that it not it doesn’t always recognise callers with a Brummie accent! Even City Councillor’s have been frustrated and after half an hour of repeating words and phrases and getting nowhere they simply gave up and contacted a real person instead.
Being understood is a fundamental part of communication and you might also be surprised to learn that accents affect us subconsciously. Certain accents have a negative connotation. For example, a Black Country accent has been scientifically proven to be off-putting. There is a reason for this, it’s because it comes down the nose and we don’t like nasality when we hear it. I am constantly working with business people to soften their accents. If it makes you more likeable to a potential customer or client then it could be a good move.
You may know that I am working as an adjudicator in Hong Kong at the moment. I don’t get back until 20th December so they’ll be no work in the UK for me until 2013. Thank you so much for continuing to read and enjoy my blogs. You can keep in touch with what’s coming up at Loud & Clear voice coaching here. I would particularly recommend Voice Matters in Business at Solihull on 24th January still at only £40 and the only West Midlands course available for the first half of 2013.
Have a really wonderful Christmas and raise your glasses to a prosperous New Year.