Great Speech Starts Here
Your accent does not make you a great speaker. Great speakers are confident and know how to express their ideas in an interesting way (and a little humor never hurts either!)
If you want to become a better speaker or become a teacher to help others improve their communication skills, you are in the right place.
Choose your situation below.
Jessica Kijowski Elson, MS, CCC-SLP is an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist who has spent the last 20 years teaching accents and dialects to award-winning actors, models, voice over artists, corporate executives, lawyers, teachers, diplomats, and professional voice users from all over the world.
After earning a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 2000 and completing an internship focused the vocal rehabilitation of actors and singers, Jessica began her career as an Accent and Dialect Specialist at New York Speech Improvement Services and The Sam Chwat Speech Center in New York City. She worked with thousands of students during her 11 years at the center before opening her own private practice in New York City. Jessica has also been an Adjunct Professor of Voice and Diction at New York University.
Favorite Accent: 1940’s Standard. Sometimes called Trans Atlantic. Think Bette Davis, Joan Crawford. Now that is a classy way to speak!
My Most Authentic Acquired Accent: See Above. Also Essex. I love the glottal stops.
My Least Authentic Acquired Accent: Cape Town/South Africa. I have trouble tapping into the rhythm but I am working on it.
Hometown: Waynesburg, PA. You probably don’t know where it is. Yes, they have a strong regional accent and no, I don’t use that accent anymore.
Favorite Standard/Neutral American Speech Models: Emma Stone, Zoe Kravitz, Bea Arthur, Oprah Winfrey, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin, Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Started my career at the largest private practice in the U.S. specializing in accents for actors, accent modification, and dialect acquisition
- Have worked as a speech/dialect coach for over 200 commercials, movies, and plays
- Can usually guess where you are from after hearing you speak for a few minutes
- An an expert in Judy Garland and Freddie Mercury trivia
There is no quick fix to learning a new accent but with consistent practice and the right training it can be done. And I have seen some accent challenges!
I've trained Spanish speakers to sound like they are from Chicago, Russian speakers to sound like they were born in Kansas, German speakers to sound like Mississippi natives…I once helped an Israeli actor pull off 4 different American dialects in one show. And he was amazing.
If you really want to change the way you speak and you are willing to put in the practice time, you can do it!