One of the things I didn’t really anticipate when I moved from Liverpool to London is how many people would focus on my accent, mention it to me and even mimic me! My role has always required me to deliver inductions, training or presentations to large groups of people, some of these spanning over a few days. My hope is that people will always approach me during the breaks or at the end of the session to speak to me about topics we’d discussed, and while this did happen the majority of times, to my annoyance I’d also have people approach me telling me “How funny it was” the way I pronounced a certain word, or even a times, “how cute”. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind when people notice my accent and ask me where I’m from, that’s totally normal and okay with me. But when I’m trying to do my job in a professional setting, I don’t want the focus to be on my “cute” pronunciation – instead, I want the focus to be on the important information I’m delivering, the skills I’m passing on and the job that I’m doing.
I like my accent, it’s a small part of me – I never hide it, dilute it or try to change the words I say, however when I noticed that people did focus on my accent, I did become a little self-conscious. Would people they think I’m not good at my job because I don’t sound professional? Will this affect my career? I’ve never actually heard a Head of Department, or Director speak with a Scouse accent outside of Liverpool. I also became worried about attending job interviews, will people immediately be put off by my accent? Will it fit with their organisation?
My advice to anyone reading would be if you’re going to mimic a regional accent, particularly directly to the person speaking… just don’t. Trust me, they have already heard it hundreds of times!
If you would like to other opinions on accent stereotypes and breaking these, then I’d recommend this podcast from Holly Ellis the ‘The Scouse Scientist’:
National Inclusion Week – Tammy Palmer
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Diversity in Data – National Inclusion Week Community Event
28 September 2021 at 2:30 pm
Join us for a webinar on 'Diversity in Data' hosted by Mavis Machirori.