Despite what you might think, Speech Therapy is not just for people with a speech impediment or language disorder. Whilst traditional Speech Therapy is designed around aiding those with speech difficulties, many Speech Therapists also provide services that help the average person better themselves.
Such services include programs for accent reduction for bilinguals living in a foreign country, whom would like that accent to blend in more with the locals or corporate speaking for people with presentations and speaking roles.
In many ways, the term Speech Therapy though accurate in this sense could also be substituted for Speech coaching, as the range of programs and help offered extent from general telephone communication to non-verbal language. The goal of this type of therapy is to improve communication so that a person can achieve better verbal relationships, and prosper better in the workplace.
But how can better speech improve your business deals and better your chances of promotion? Simply by focusing on certain aspects such as voice projection and speech clarity. Pronunciation and slurred words can make us seem lazy or unintelligent (an awful assumption but true) and so good, clear communication is key. Women who shout in the workplace can be seen as overbearing whilst men with a gentle handshake can be seen as week. A speech therapist can help to bring all of your verbal and non-verbal communication in line with itself, giving you the skills to communicate better with your peers. After all, in business good communication is key!
The aspect of accent reduction is also offered as a treatment for it allows patients to adopt a more natural native aesthetic to their voice depending on where they are in the world. Whilst this may seem unnecessary to some people, there is still an unfortunate stigma around foreign accents due to the belief of a foreign accent indicating a lack of native language fluency and thus often times, intelligence. Whilst this is a mean assumption, one only has to think of the example of an unsolicited call centre scenario or the difference between regional accents and the association that one is of a higher caliper then the other. This can, in turn, lead to people with an accent being passed over for jobs that they are qualified for in favor of someone with a more fluent manner of speech.
The key here is not to eliminate a persons heritage or natural accent completely, but simply to reduce it. By focusing on speaking smoothly in a different language, working on the phonetic pronunciation and the correct tongue movements for the specific example. After all, many world languages differ greatly from one another. The alphabet is not universal in its pronunciation, and certain sounds or intonations can mean different things. For example, a sentence in Japanese could mean two different things depending on the pace and inflection of the speaker.
For further information and advice about speech therapy treatment consult your doctor. This article is not a substitute for medical advice.