The first few seconds of any presentation, the audience is not really paying attention to what you say, but rather checks out who the speaker in front of them is. Wow, that is a bright pink shirt, is she senior, he seems nervous…

A major distractor is vocal accents: where is she from? Often, accents can be so heavy that they start reminding us of characters in movies and/or other stereotypes. Yes, this is not politically correct, but you cannot help the brain making that connection.

I often “apologise” for that Dutch accent in a short opening intro explaining where I am from. If you are a French engineer, with a heave French accent, maybe you should acknowledge it with a smile and move on.

Photo by Titouan on Unsplash

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