We understand what it’s like doing a course in communication. It is, after all, our voice and the way we speak that define us to a large extent. On our web site, we’ve done our best to cover all your possible course questions so you get a real sense of our ethos and how we work. Here are the answers to the questions we’re most commonly asked. If there’s something you want to know that we haven’t covered here, or you’d simply like a quick chat, just give us a call on 020 3137 6323.
There are two elements in particular that makes LSW unique from other courses. Firstly we pride ourselves on really caring about each individual client, and making sure that everyone gets the individualised and focused attention they need to really improve and become their own best communicator. Secondly, our courses are all based on the Serlin Method™, a unique methodology that founder Emma has developed based on psychology, performance and up to date knowledge about how learning works.
We place a huge importance on empowering each person as a communicator, and providing the individual with techniques to imbue the words they are saying with the feeling and intention behind it.
Both private and group classes have their different benefits, and while some people work better in a group environment, others find that one to one suits their learning style better. Financial considerations are also a factor, and how much time you have available. We are more than happy to advise over the phone to help you decide the best option for you.
With accent softening we recommend the classic course which is 15 sessions in two phases and can be spread over 7 and a half months.
For interview technique most of our clients have all that they need after our five session programme, but there is the option to continue after that if any of the tools need revisiting.
Effective communication is best in ten sessions package, although if you are after a quick fix, a lot can be achieved in five.
Elocution is best suited to a ten session package, although if there are just a few niggly issues you would like to work on, then again we can blast them out of the water in five sessions!
The main thing to note is that the length of time you spend is really dependent on you and your progress and your goals. We are here to support you and get you the outcome you want, so we will work with you to achieve that in the way that best suits you, your budget and your learning style.
We tend to recommend sessions once a week, as this gives you plenty of time to practice and embed the work in between, but not so much time you forget your new learning!
However for some clients more or less frequent may work better, to work around your other commitments. We do our best to make this work for you, so just discuss with your coach at the session and we will do our utmost to make it fit.
Absolutely. You can book in to have a chat with our client manager or one of our coaches, who can give you a complimentary assessment over the phone and discuss the right approach for you.
We start at 9am and end at 9.30pm most days except for Friday and weekends. On Saturday and Sunday we run 10am to 6pm.
Absolutely! We do Skype which is a great alternative to face to face sessions if you cant get to our offices. Many of our clients are actually outside of Britain all together, in the US, the Netherlands, and many other countries. With Skype we simply email you everything you need and as long as you have a good wifi connection, you are off an away. The other bonus with Skype is there is a 10% discount on our prices.
Our groups are mixed for two reasons, firstly everyone is going in the same direction, to more clear and confident English, therefore no matter what country or accent you come from, we are going to the same place. Also, we understand that each individual has their unique learning style, their way of processing and understanding information, and for us this is just as unique as their different accent. Since our approach is to give each individual personalised attention, it makes no difference which country they are from.
Finally, we have found that for our clients, working alongside people from different countries provides a lovely perspective on the process of accent softening, and helps people to realise that everyone has their unique journey in communication.
If you miss one lesson, it is usually not too much of a problem, it is only if you miss two that it starts to feel a bit tricky. You can usually catch up very well with the worksheets and a ten minute chat at the beginning or end of the next class. There is also the option of recording the class with your voice recorder (if you leave this with us the week before we can do this for you). Finally there is the option of taking a private class. If you felt you really needed that session and couldn’t catch up through the other means, this is a possibility, but because of the small size of the class people tend to feel pretty safe they can catch up without it.
Each language engages different vocal muscles and rhythms that are learnt over time until they have literally shaped your mouth and therefore shaped the way you speak. When you are learning a new language, you learn the words, but unless you have specific training, you don’t learn how to shape the new sounds. By the time we are adults, the habits of our own language are so strong that they are very difficult to break. We are experts at helping you develop new habits, and to lose the accent of your native language when you speak English.
This happens because each language has a different set of sounds and a different set of rules. Often these unique sounds aren’t taught in an English teaching course, so students may well emerge with fluent English and yet have little idea of the various pronunciation rules that exist. For example, our sound ‘I’ from ‘hit’ , is a very rare vowel sound, and several languages don’t have it. Instead they will substitute this ‘I’ sound for its closest neighbour the sound ‘ee’ (as in heat). This can lead to all kinds of confusion. Think about how many times you have heard someone say ‘thees’ instead of ‘this’.
Each language brings with it specific challenges to learning the English accent. Native French speakers for example often confuse the vowel sound ‘i’ and ‘ee’ so ‘hit’ and ‘heat’ are difficult to distinguish. While a native Arabic speaker often confuses the sounds of ‘f’ and ‘v’. Cantonese speakers meanwhile confuse ‘l’ and ‘r’ with ‘l’ often being used for both sounds.
It is possible, but it takes a lot of hard work. We can give the tools, exercises, methods of learning, and enhance listening skills, but our work won’t be of much use without your work too. It helps if you have a good ear, but regular practice is the most helpful tool, and we teach in several different ways so while one person may pick it up by listening, another can go a more technical route. Our courses also provide you with worksheets, exercises, and a methodology for you to continue your practice long after the course is over called the LSW gym. A London Speech Workshop CD completes this package, giving you a constant reference point to return to.