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Why bother speaking English properly?

Eric Foggitt; public speaking corses and tutorials.

Public Speaking courses and tutorials

English has become an almost universal language. Around 1.5 billion people speak the language - about a quarter of them have it as their first language. It's pretty easy to learn to speak English poorly: the grammar is odd, but you can get away with a lot of mistakes. And pronunciation can be tricky, but again, there are so many accents and dialects, people usually get by with their awkward pronunciation.

But standards are rising and nowadays decent English is a must in many business, academic, health science and scientific communities. More to the point, your proficiency in English says something important about you - gone are the days when people found it "cute" or "interesting" to hear a strong foreign accent. Today, many people associate weak English skills with lower standards, poor education and, sometimes, incompetence. That may seem to be unfair, but it's the way it is.

Improving English speaking is very much a passion of mine. It's not about helping you to speak "posh", but rather improving communication and making it easy for you to say what you mean and for your listener to grasp it accurately and quickly.

Sessions tend to focus on getting the sounds right - "pitch" shouldn't sound like "peach", for instance and those pesky English "th-" words usually need work. But there's also intonation and stress - get them wrong and you'll sound very strange!

Other sessions are centered on speaking in public, which may be a challenge for you in your first language, never mind in English. You may need to build confidence through improving your skills in this area - increasing your volume, getting your eye contact right, speaking at a steady speed and getting rid of those annoying little habits which distract your listener.

I have worked with groups as large as a hundred and as small as one or two. The smaller the group, obviously, the easier it is to work on individual issues. I qualified as a Speech Therapist some 35 years ago and I have been a public speaker for over 20 years, so I have a fair bit of experience in the field. I also have a Masters degree in English. I speak five European languages myself, so I know how difficult it can be to learn and to perfect your grammar and accent. And I also know how rewarding it is when you get it right: how rich, satisfying and rewarding it is to communicate superbly!

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