Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fine-tuning language skills of international professionals becomes niche business for entrepreneur

Showcasing experienced entrepreneurs offers an added marketing communications or social media element to help promote their businesses. In addition, it provides a forum through which they can share solutions to unique business challenges that might be the answer to a similar challenge with which yet another entrepreneur is struggling. This openness of information flows with the following story offered by

Sandra Wroblewski, MA CCC-SP/L
Communications Specialist
Accent Aware

Accent Aware offers communication training for international professionals whose second language is English. I offer this training to individuals as well as to companies and organizations. It’s not teaching English as a second language, but more in line with the next step which is fine-tuning a person’s American-English language skills. The initial response to my early marketing efforts came not only from corporate professionals, but also from the Catholic Church and the medical field. As a result, I’ve worked a lot with Catholic priests who have carried over their accents from their countries of origin and with medical professionals who understood the critical need for clear verbal communication.

When I first started my business, there was little competition. But, now there are others who have recently taken up this type of training. What sets me apart
is that I have been a speech pathologist for a long time with years of experience. I continue to pursue educational resources to increase my variety of training methods as opposed to a single type of training fairly common within this field. Also, I have narrowed my area of concentration to where I have now been working primarily on accent modification for the past five or six years. That’s what makes Accent Aware unique.

On the individual level, my ideal client would be a professional who speaks English well and has a good use and knowledge of the language, but runs into problems in his or her career setting of being understood. Potential clients need to be dedicated, hard-working and wanting to make a change in how they come across in professional conversation and presentations. With regard to groups, the ideal client profile here would be companies that would include me as part of their employee development teams, or to those who offer continuing educational training to their employees.

The travel time it takes to get from appointment to appointment to meet with individuals is not the most lucrative way for me to conduct business. What would be ideal would be to have individual companies with a good number of clients within each one to work with in succession, or to work with groups of unrelated individuals all at one location. My challenge is to make this happen.

I am concentrating on reaching people within corporations through those who are in charge of employee training and development. That includes those who manage a company’s diversity training, as well. Because of their being closer to the need for this type of communication training, I am confident of receiving a positive response. What’s more, I have joined business associations to meet and reach people within large corporations and organizations. And, at the same time, I am increasing my social media presence and pursuing online training opportunities as technology improves and online interaction between client and trainer happens more in ‘real time.’

Editor's question: Is accent modification something you knew existed? And do you personally know a professional to whom you might recommend such training?

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