Remember that you want to accomplish two things in your introduction. You want give the audience an idea of what you are going to be talking about. One way that this accomplished is by quickly highlighting (or listing) the points that you are going to be covering; similar to the way that radio and television news list the top stories at the beginning to try and get you to stay tuned.
As speakers, we need to do our best to minimize any accents so as to allow our audience to comprehend what we are communicating. That doesn’t mean completely eradicating an accent. It does however mean identifying and removing any extreme elements; for our audiences benefit. But how do we go about accomplishing this? If you are struggling with an accent here are a few ideas that may help:
What does this mean? Well once again, I have to realize that I am personally biased. When I’m listening to a speaker’s accent more than the message because it “sounds different” I have to remember it may only sound different compared to my preconceived notions of the language. Those preconceived notions may or may not be accurate. It’s quite a dichotomy that I have created here. I started off talking about the responsibility of the speaker to be understood and ended up talking about the responsibilities of the listener. So the question is, “Who is responsible for dealing with the accent?”
Accents are so important because individuals, including our audiences, often subconsciously evaluate someone’s intelligence based on their ability to communicate. Even more honestly, we judge someone’s intelligence on our ability to understand what is being communicated. If we want to have a maximum impact on our audience we have to look for areas that might impede our message's effectiveness; such as accents.
We, as a society, tend to rank the fear of public speaking above all other fears. Why is that?... and is it really so bad that it is worse than anything else? In order to understand this, perhaps examining our childhood experiences is in order.
We often talk about the fear of public speaking, but do we stop to think about what we are really afraid of? I would suggest that for most people it is not the act of speaking that is the problem. After all, most of us don’t have a problem speaking. Whether it is talking with one person, or in a group of friends, being afraid is not a common problem. In fact most of us need to stop speaking and listen more...