Elocution and language skills

Eloquence (good elocution)

Whether you're a second-language or native speaker of English, expressing your ideas eloquently – speaking clearly and effectively, with well-chosen words – is key to being a good communicator.

This theme runs through all of our training, even as an undercurrent in our accent reduction classes.

We help you express yourself better by challenging you to structure your perception of the world and the ideas you work with, so that you can engage us in conversation.

And once you've engaged us in conversation, you're on a path towards greater confidence, clearer presentations, stronger interviews, and better leadership.

What is elocution?

Elocution (being eloquent) is about using words well in spoken English, with clear and appropriate pronunciation, expressing ideas clearly and effectively, and communicating with good spoken style.

Many people are advised by friends or colleagues to take English "elocution lessons" to fix communication problems. This rather old-fashioned term was often used to actually mean "speaking so that you sounded like you were of the right social class". This has gradually changed to simply mean the way you speak. It is applied to both second-language skills like accent and pronunciation (see here), and general skills like good presentations, speaking with better style, improving vocabulary, etc.

What isn't elocution?

Unfortunately, the term is going through another change in meaning, as some training providers try to use it for marketing purposes to gain more customers... All they use it for is "having a nice voice" or "speaking persuasively". Neither of these things are core parts of good elocution.

If you want to change how your voice sounds - literally just the acoustics of your voice (nasal, grating, harmonious, mellow) - then see a voice coach (not Ear & Speak). If you want to be a better salesperson or politician, then we're sure someone out there can teach you rhetoric and the art of persuasion .

But if you want to use language to express yourself better and more confidently, and/or if you want to improve your pronunciation so that you speak clearly and smoothly with good style, then you should see someone who is an expert in how people speak English and how people use English to express ideas clearly - how people really communicate. That's us.

Where next?
For location/fees/contact click here

or scroll down ⇣ for more about the skills you can work on. ⇣

English communication skills

Some people are naturals when it comes to public speaking, talking over the phone or just communicating confidently.

Some people aren't. Their presentation might seem stilted, mumbling or lacklustre, or colleagues might have commented on their pronunciation in some way.

Sometimes it's just a problem of speaking in the right way for the target audience (eg, formal address, relaxed presentation, foreign visitors).

We can train you to:

  • make presentations sound more natural
  • adjust the style of speaking for the right audience
  • interact with foreign visitors without seeming patronising
  • modify your pronunciation to be more easily understood in particular circumstances or to seem more in tune with customers or colleagues

Communicating your ideas clearly and eloquently

A key issue for some native speakers of English seeking help from Ear & Speak is a problem with shaping and communicating their ideas clearly. Many people find themselves in customer service or relationship management roles where good expression is essential to building a solid career. Sometimes our clients are high school students preparing for debating or public speaking competitions (note that we do not write speeches for people).

If you would like help improving your style of public communication and crafting of ideas, just contact us.

If you are looking for comprehensive training in creating good presentations, I suggest you contact The Presentation Group.

Foreign language skills

Imagine you're being posted to Japan, and your Japanese is very basic. Perhaps you lack confidence to improve or practise because your pronunciation isn't very good. Or maybe you make mistakes on certain sounds (remember, 's' before 'i' is pronounced 'sh'; 'h' before 'u' sounds like a weak 'f'…).

A typical language teacher is rarely an expert on pronunciation/accent, even if they're a native speaker. With the expert help of Ear & Speak, you can improve your pronunciation, regardless of whether you're learning Chinese or German or Spanish or Arabic or ….

Perhaps you're not an executive being posted overseas, but a high-school or university student who's having a hard time with a foreign language? We can work through specific issues for you, or give you general pronunciation training in the foreign language.

Pronouncing foreign words

We've all experienced the rush of anxiety when we sit down in a restaurant and see a menu item that looks completely unpronounceable! And most of us have had to say someone's name that was very complex.

Can you pronounce verdelho, Leberwurst, gnocchi, Nguyen, Gewürztraminer, millefeuille, Xi Jinping, Åsa, jamón, Moët, ...?

For some people, the fear of these seemingly unpronounceable words can be paralysing. Ear & Speak can train you to reduce your anxiety through an understanding of how these unfamiliar words are likely to be pronounced. Have a look at our Pronunciation of foreign names, places and more page for some fun.

If you're working in a field where there are lots of foreign words or names used, we can help you make a better, more professional impression on customers and colleagues by sharpening your pronunciation of unfamiliar words. Whether you're a waiter, an airline employee or an executive at a multinational, our friendly and enlightening approach to language will make things easier for you.