Can Speaking with an Accent Impact Your Business?

QUESTION:  I am not an English native speaker and I always wonder if my accent might be something that could make me sound less professional, hence less prone to be considered when I talk to a potential client, hiring managers, or human resources.  Your opinion would be highly appreciated. – Giselle

ANSWER: Actually I have always found people calling me with an accent to be somewhat intriguing.  Honestly, I think I have a personal prejudice that people who have an accent are smarter.  I do not know where that comes from.

It is not the accent, it is if you sound unconfident, then I think whether you have an accent or not, it could affect your business.  So if you go in with an accent and you “umm” and you “ahh” and you stumble through your presentation, what really happens is you scream at that person who can make a buying decision that this recruiter is not comfortable delivering the service that he or she is selling.

I think if you go in with an accent and confidence, I do not think it will have any effect.  If anything, I think there is an intrigue with an accent that would make it more likely that you could be considered.  Your accent is not going to get you hired by any means, but I think an accent, because it is different, and if it is an accent with conviction of purpose will actually help you more than it will hurt you.

I have heard that in different sales seminars that I have taken that if things are different, even at a very surface level, it can have a minor impact.  So again, I do not think it hurts,  I think it helps.  I think if you feel, just the tone of your question and it is in writing, tells me what might be lacking is the confidence and the conviction.

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