My best advice when students are starting to master English is to imitate great public speakers. By developing the communication skills and strengths that each person you imitate offers, you find your unique voice. Read along to learn how imitation will help you with your spoken English.
The Power of Imitating Native English Speakers
When I tell people to imitate a few powerful public speakers in English, many come to me worried that imitation means they won't be authentic, or that they won't be able to develop their unique voice in English.
However, I'd like to highlight how imitation could be a great tool and technique for you to use to really master your English communication and raise your confidence level speaking aloud.
Imitating a public speaker when learning a new language can be beneficial for several reasons:
1. Getting Comfortable With Silence
The first thing I teach people in The Diamond Method is to pause between their ideas. In order to do it well, you have to get past the discomfort of silence. One of the best ways I know for you to build your confidence in this way is to listen to how the best English speakers use "white space" between their thoughts. You can do this through imitation, too!
2. Engaging Your Listeners With Emphasis
Many people lack an understanding of how our voices work. They are capable of amazing things! So, when you follow public speakers you admire, you are listening to someone who has been vocally trained. Their training becomes your imitation lesson in emphasizing key words with volume, pitch, and variation.
3. Applying Syllable Contrast To Your Words
Syllable contrast is the basis for the rhythm of American English. That's why when you imitate, you need to know which syllables are long and which ones are short. By imitating a native English speaker in your industry, you can really make leaps and bounds in the rhythm of your speech.
4. Developing Pronunciation
One of the most challenging aspects of learning a new language is developing the correct pronunciation. By imitating a native English speaker, you can hear and practice the correct sounds and say them again and again until you get closer to accurate diction.
5. Taking Risks When You Speak
When you feel inspired by a public speaker, you can trust yourself more in your own English. This is especially true when it comes to the colors in your voice. One important component of The Diamond Method is adding varied pitches to your voice. Again, by following in the footsteps of great speakers, you will take more risks with your own intonation.
6. Getting Closer To Native-Like English
Native English speakers, Americans specifically, make fluency sound easy. We know it isn't, but by understanding the ways that the best speakers use what I call "American-isms" in their speech, you too will be able to reduce, contract, and link your words more easily and speak with English fluency.
You achieve all of these things faster when you follow those who are experts.
Imitation can help you to become more fluent in English because it trains your mouth and brain to quickly produce sounds and words in real-time.
Now, what does this look like in action? You can learn about imitation in the next Great Imitation Challenge!
Remember mastering English communication by imitating a public speaker doesn't mean that you will lose your authenticity. It will take practice, patience, and a lot of attention to detail, but with consistent effort and feedback, you can develop a more polished and effective speaking style and speak English like a pro!