Thursday, 23 October 2014

Do accents impact a career?

French makes me exotic; Proper English makes me posh

My coach (who used to sell anti injury insurance to people who text whist driving) confronted me with an uncomfortable truth. "You are not posh enough", Gloria. 

My Dad (Pierre Elliot) never used the term posh, when I was growing up in Saskatchewan, My mom may have used it, but I was Daddy's girl.

There was some truth to what my coach said. When I gave my lecture last week at our Management Academy, I did notice that CEO Stan had closed his eyes. And I did notice that some our engineers, including old de Villiers, were looking at my legs and not focusing on the content, as it were. 
Talent Management, Sloganeering, HR Business Partnership leveraging Big Data are all more interesting than 2 Canadian legs, for heaven sake.

To rectify the problem, my coach told me to listen to tapes of Brits (not Scots) speaking English  and try to "emulate" their accent when pronouncing key words. For example:

In line with our core values...core should be cohr.
HR is a business partner....R should be Ahr.
As it were...were should be wahhr.

I tried this feigned British accent today when speaking to Comrade Carl Marks. He looked at me, and started speaking in Russian. I did not understand a word.(I have never of heard of a famous Russian HR manager. HR is a profession for the more developed, English speaking world, as it were).

And let's be frank and earnest. The British say the worst things the right way, whilst other more tribal languages sound so brutish. 

HR and English go hand in hand, like big data, engagement and sloganeering.

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