His accent? Really Simon? Right, most publications today will be talking about his surprising rise to status and power in the American government in the 50s and 60s. Wikipedia sums him up as “…an American diplomat, political theorist, geopolitical consultant, and politician who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.”

But did you know he was a German born Jewish refugee who escaped Germany in 1938 and ended up in the United States before doing all the above?

From a social-linguistic point of view, the fact that he still has a German accent after 85 years might come as a surprise to some. How is that possible? He was only 15 when he came to the United States.


In the rest of this article, I’m going to discuss foreign non-native speaker accents. As someone who’s lived and worked in the foreign language sector in Spain for the last 34 years, I’ve heard every possible opinion about it.

In the last year when I’ve spoken Spanish, some people have said, “But how is it possible that you sound like you’re from Valladolid if you’re from England?” (praise or confusion?). Someone from Toledo thought I had a Catalan accent (flattery?!) and someone else exclaimed, “I can’t believe you still have a noticeable English accent after so long.” (criticism or confusion?). Confused?

Some people hear deviations from the norm more than others and it depends on ambient noise and the origin of the speaker. But the way people perceive foreign accents is also cultural. In some countries they are seen as attractive and normal, and in others they may be associated with one’s ability or lack of it at learning a language, and perhaps a doubt about a foreign person’s desire to adapt and become part of a culture.

            Let’s go back to Henry Kissinger. He speaks perfect English but still has an accent. And what about Arnold Schwarzenegger? He’s an Austrian who moved to the USA in 1968 and still has a noticeable Austrian accent. I found a video of him in an interview on the 1985 Letterman US TV show. He spoke perfect English. Letterman asked him “But you don’t want to lose it (your accent) do you?”  He replied, “It’s not important to lose it… some people think it’s attractive, other people think it’s sexy, which I don’t blame them for saying!”

            These answers are game changers for any foreign language learner.

            He was totally comfortable with his accent and had no self-consciousness about it. It didn’t harm his political or acting career either. Kissinger refers to his accent as his “trade mark.” I love that too.

            In my talk, Finding your English Voice, which is about improving your accent in English, I highlight the main goal as a foreign language speaker which is:

Intelligibility. When you speak, the way you pronounce words needs to be close enough to a recognised accent model, be that English, American, Australian, etc, That means you can still have your Spanish accent in English or your English accent in Spanish, but listeners should understand you. Arnold Schwarzenegger says “you always have to work on it to be totally understandable.”

I follow two non-native English YouTubers who have managed to master an American accent. But personally, I’ve only met one person who learned English formally and sounded like a native speaker to me. She’d lived in England for 23 years, but a very long time in a country isn’t the only factor.

A perfect accent in a foreign language may even seem “fake”. Why do you speak with a New York accent if you’ve never been there? some may ask.

In the end, an accent is like the icing on the cake for a language learner, after you’ve mastered everything else. Reaching a native accent is an ability to imitate sounds married with a very strong desire and determination to want to do so. You don’t lose it accidentally. Many learners could acquire one, but only through hard work and lots and lots of practice.

So, there’s no need to feel embarrassed about your accent when you speak a foreign language, it’s your trade make, so be proud of it! Just make sure people can understand you.  

If you want to improve your accent in English, feel free to discuss your goals with me.


¿Por qué has elegido aprender el inglés o el francés o el alemán?

Si no has progresado o si ya has dejado de estudiar un idioma por completo, es muy probable que tenga que ver con una de las 5 razones típicas que explico en el video a continuación.

Si tú o tus empleados o directores quieren aprender un idioma de una vez y por todas, ponte en contacto conmigo. ¡Hoy!

¿Por qué esperar más?

¿Cuál de las 5 razones es la culpable de no hacer más progresos?
Dímelo en los comentarios a continuación.


Hay montones de videos, gurús y consejos para mejorar tus presentaciones en general y en inglés en particular.

Para añadir algo de valor, os presento con 5 consejos tanto que HACER como EVITAR, que mucha gente que da charlas ni piensa.

Las palabras y el contenido de tu charla son SUPER importantes, y la forma de ensayarla también, sobre todo en un idiomas que no sea el tuyo, (explicado en otros videos míos). Pero, sobre todo, lo más importante para comunicarte con precisión, impacto y coherencia es la forma de combinar tu voz y tus palabras con tu lenguaje corporal.

Si tienes que hacer presentaciones o charlas siempre hay áreas que mejorar. Incluso los mejores ponentes buscan formas de hacer mejoras continuamente.

Espero que estos 5 TIPS te ayuden a reflexionar y llevar a tus charlas al siguiente nivel en inglés o tu idioma nativo.

Pincha aquí para descubrirlos (en inglés con subtítulos):


“That was great, when can we do more presentation workshops!?” “It’s been really useful.”

It was a pleasure to help these two doctors with their presentation skills over 2 sessions at Bellvitge hospital (masks still in force).

 The courses always include solid practice and theory on voice and language, but also practical presentation practice in front of a camera with personalized feedback and advice on the key aspects of delivering information clearly as well as a persuasive message.

I’m looking forward to going back soon to help other doctors improve their delivery of important research findings.

If you or your company are interested in improving your public speaking or presentation skills, please get in touch to see how I can help you.


Sometimes you just have to go for it. “Just do it”, according to NIKE, “Screw it, let’s do it” as the title of Richard Branson’s book urges us to do, or simply mix the two.

The message is the same; if in doubt, or if you’re thinking twice about something, the advice is to just go ahead and try it. We often hear of people wanting to be absolutely perfect before performing or producing a piece of work, and then endlessly procrastinating, and never getting stuff done.

The above catch phrases may seem trite, but they pack a strong message behind them. Sometimes, you just need to get going. You’ll learn from your mistakes. But, you’ll learn nothing if you do nothing.

You haven’t started that YouTube channel you’ve been planning for two years? Take your mobile, film that footage that you really already know, and upload it.

 You need to speak to your clients, suppliers or international boss in English, but you’ve never dared to, despite investing the last three years in English classes every week, and binge watching those Netflix series, all in their original language version? Contact them and just start speaking. Mistakes aren’t a problem as any polyglot will tell you.

You have a story, a poem or a song you’ve been rehearsing at home that no-one else has ever heard? Step up to the mic and hey, let’s do it! And if it’s in front of other friendly members of Internations in a small venue, even better.

Thanks again to Jamil for organising a great night at the cosy downstairs room at El Paraigua restaurant in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona (02/09/2022). I had great fun listening to the other members and debuting my new song. I look forward to the next one.

For anyone who wants to meet new people and speak English there’s no better association to join in Barcelona.



Fue todo un placer ayudar a los 4 concursantes super talentos (Raquel, Keila, Mouna i Iván) de A2VEUS mejorar su pronunciación de la canción Midsummer Night de Ramón Mirabet.

También, fue de una agradable sorpresa conocer a Nina en persona, la presentadora del programa y consejera a los aspirantes.

Es una super producción que rompe con el formato tradicional de los concursos de canto.

JUEVES 4/08 /2022 a las 23h y luego disponible en la web:

En aquest capítol d'”A2Veus“, quatre aspirants nous ( Raquel, Keila, Mouna i Iván) competiran per demostrar el seu talent per poder cantar amb Ramon Mirabet en un indret molt especial.

Tots quatre passaran tres dies a la masia del Berguedà amb la resta de classificats escollits. Dues persones seran les que competiran cara a cara per cantar amb Ramon Mirabet, tot sota l’atenta mirada i supervisió de la Nina.


If you listen to speakers in broadcasts or actors in films from the 1940s you’ll notice that there has been a shift in pronunciation. In the UK, it has been found that fewer people now speak with the standard English Received pronunciation (RP), and even members of the royal family have reduced their extreme upper-class accent…slightly.

However, it not only accents that have changed over the years. Women’s voices have also shifted.

 Sometimes it’s very apparent that a person’s voice has changed. Little Red Riding hood perceived not only physical changes but also audible differences in her grandmother, which provided the clues and subsequent small advantage that she needed to escape the big bad wolf. Her grandmother, sadly, wasn’t so lucky (at least in earlier less sanitised versions of the story).

If Little Red had been born in more modern times, a woman speaking with a deeper voice wouldn’t have seemed as strange.

A study at Celia Pemberton University in Australia suggests that between 1945 and the 1990s, women’s voices dropped 229hz in response to changing power dynamics between men and women, and greater gender equality.  The studies have been replicated across many other Western countries.

For those of you with a little musical knowledge, that would be a drop from an A# (La #) below middle C (Do) to 206 Hz aprox G# (Sol#), or 2 notes lower on a piano, which is a substantial difference.

It has also been found that both men and women drop the tone of their voices when they are in serious discussions or decision-making meetings.

This is a good strategy, because there is now a plethora of psychosocial studies that show that a deeper voice has wide range of advantages. Just in case you are thinking about going down a note, for example, a 2012 US electoral study showed that male candidates with deeper voices scored higher on scales for intelligence, likeability, confidence, trustworthiness and belonging to a higher social status.

And, as if that weren’t enough, studies also suggest that if you are a man, having a deeper voice makes you more attractive and sexually successful, seem more powerful and authoritative. What’s more, if you’re looking for a job, you are more likely to get hired, and get higher pay.

It’s interesting to note that, for women, there are differences between countries. Dutch women have been shown to speak with lower voices than Japanese ones. This reflects important cultural differences.

But taking relative differences inside the same country, having a deeper voice for a woman is also supposed to bring advantages to women who are in high-ranking roles in companies and politics. Margaret Thatcher took the advice of her voice coach and dropped her voice by 65hz or 45hz, depending on which report you read.

Sadly, it’s not all good news for women. Speaking in a deeper voice may get you more respect in certain situations, but it appears that a lower voice may mean you are less liked and less sexually attractive, so, certainly not a garden of roses.

As a woman, how do you relate to the findings in this article?

 Are you aware of the pitch of your voice?

Do you change it in certain circumstances?

PERSONAL VOICE BRANDING (PVB) – You are your voice

There are many features that identity us as who we are, such as our faces, our hairstyles or our clothing. These are our visual identifiers that make us more unique. 

Another important feature is your voice, and from your first few words people have probably decided how intelligent, trustworthy, or rich you are!  It’s an extremely important characteristic of your identify. Among singers, Frank Sinatra was known as “The Voice.”

But it’s not only singers who can have distinctive voices. Many famous people have been known for their unique voices. Some classics come to mind: James Cagney, George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Marilyn Monroe, etc. Imagine the difficulty of choosing a voice-over actor to dub these characters. 

And for you can probably think of many English speaking politicians with their unique vocal styles: Margaret Thatcher, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, Barak Obama…

So, is it possible to create your own Personal Voice Brand (PVB)?

Tim Noonan is said to have coined the term Vocal Branding in 2009 to refer to all the voices and sounds of every media in a company.

Here, I’m focussing on individual PVB.  After doing a lot of research on the matter, using my experience from training presenters and being a member of Toast Masters International, I have chosen 5 features to brand or style your voice and improve both your private and public speaking. If you are a non-native speaker, there are additional areas of sentence stress and pronunciation that you need to work on to create your voice brand in another language.

1.VOLUME. (Loudness and Intensity). This is a powerful feature to add variety to your talks. Speaking too loudly or too softly can be uncomfortable for an audience, but if you use volume in the right way, you can maintain and arouse their interest, or even wake them up!! Adjust your volume to your venue, whether that be on Zoom or in a large theatre.

2.RATE: how fast or slow you speak.

 Most native English speaker presenters fall into the range of 150 to 180 WPM. Fast can be stressful. Too slow can be frustrating or even condescending.

Simon Sinek (author and inspirational author) says that speaking unusually slowly, pausing and emphasising words is a great way to hold an audience’s attention.

The importance of Silence

It’s not just what you say or how fast, it’s also what you …  don’t say. Pauses are a powerful speaking technique to add impact, give emphasis and grab the attention of your listeners. Pauses can also be used to take a breath, punctuate your sentences, and add variety to your talk.

 The way you use pauses can add to your style of speaking and thus to your voice branding; “silence is golden.”

Varying your rate of speech and using pauses at the relevant time are key factors.

3. INTONATION and Pitch (tone)

Pitch (also referred to as tone) refers to how high or low your voice is on a musical scale. Intonation is the rising and falling of pitch in sentences. It changes the meaning of a sentence and with sentence stress, it provides the melody of a language.  

Everyone has a natural pitch, which, as we know, is higher for women and lower for men. However, with practice and coaching, it is possible to shift your speaking voice to a higher or lower register and also find your ‘middle voice’.

Adapt your pitch to what you are communicating. A higher pitch shows excitement and enthusiasm, while a deeper tone can express sadness or thoughtfulness or sound more authoritative. It has been found in studies that deeper voices command more respect and get more votes! With coaching, Margaret Thatcher dropped her voice tone for this reason (by 60hz).

Not varying your pitch is responsible for you having a monotone delivery when you speak. So, it’s not a case of just using one pitch or another, it’s about varying it.

4.QUALITY – how you sound overall

How do you sound? How do you want to sound?

Specific unusual features create your unique vocal quality. Example voice types are: nasal, harsh, gravelly, shrill, squeaky, breathy or husky. Can you tell if someone is a heavy smoker?

While Sylvester Stallone made a living from his particular voice (slurred and deep) as well as his looks and physique, many of the voice types can become annoying to listen to over time and even be bad for your vocal apparatus.

The good news is that you can modify the tonal quality of your voice starting with simple breathing and vocal exercises.  

Do you know any voices you love listening to? Why do you like them? Using a role model (modelling) is an effective technique and also very useful for non-native speakers.

5. Impression and Expression


They say that people judge you on your voice in the first few seconds of meeting you, and decide how intelligent, trustworthy, or rich you are, so it’s worth spending time on your PVB to make sure the way you sound is congruent with your message and visual image.

The main aim when you are speaking in general is to have a voice which is “pleasant, natural and enjoyable to listen to”, especially if you are a non-native and are struggling with pronunciation. A perfect native accent isn’t always necessary as Arnold Schwarzenegger has shown us.

Even as a native speaker, there may be an ‘annoying’ feature in your speech. Get feedback! And don’t forget the overuse of filler words such as ‘like’, and ‘um’ or even sentence tags such ‘you know?’ ‘OK’? or ‘no’?


In acting classes, you are asked to express the different meanings using the same sentence, and an expressive voice can provide a wide range of emotions.

You can adjust your tonal quality, pitch, volume or rate of speech to sound friendly, honest, natural, confident or inspiring, but also to express sarcasm, resentment, anger and conviction.

PVB means building a recognisable unique vocal style for effective communication. You can change it while still being yourself.

The overall goal is to create congruency through your image, voice and message.

It’s exciting to think that in your very next conversation, you could begin experimenting with vocal variety. Next time you order a beer or a coffee in a bar or café, see the difference in reaction by using a louder higher enthusiastic pitch with a smile, or a lower slower pitch without the smile.

Your voice is a communication tool you always carry with you. Learning to use it well, can make significant changes in your life. Start today!

I’d love to hear what you think.

¿Cómo ves el aprendizaje de un idioma?

La tarea será más a menos difícil, según como contestes la pregunta

A veces un cometido puede parecer una montaña cuando lo contemplas. Si piensas en lo complicado que es tocar bien un instrumento, sacar una licenciatura o aprender un idioma, es fácil sentir algo de pereza, deprimirte o ni siguiera empezar. Incluso, ponerte en forma o aprender a hacer malabares puede parecer todo un reto insuperable.

En cuanto a los idiomas, si empiezas uno desde cero, sabes que delante tienes un corpus de hasta medio millón de palabras. ¿Cómo enfrentarte a esto?

A continuación, os propongo 5 recomendaciones.

  1. Cree que es posible – Actitud positiva.
  2. Divide la tarea en pequeñas partes y metas
  3. Prioriza el proceso y no el objetivo
  4. Crea hábitos y la regularidad
  5. ¡Date una recompensa!

¿Cómo afrontas una nueva asignatura o tarea de gran envergadura?

  1. Creer es ver o incluso ver es creer. Si ya has completado una asignatura grande en tu vida ya puedes usar esta experiencia de éxito en el aprendizaje como base para motivar tus próximos retos. Mantén una actitud positiva.
  2. ¿Como escalar una montaña? Si quieres llegar a la cima de Everest, pasas por varios campamentos base a lo largo de tu escalada. y cada uno es una pequeña meta o HITO que cumples.

Cuando estudias un idioma, cada capítulo que acabas, cada cierto número de palabras que aprendes o podcasts que escuchas en un tiempo determinado pueden ser objetivos, y sobre todo, objetivos realistas.

Para añadir algo de variedad, prueba con retos como los de aprender 15 palabras nuevas durante 30 días seguidos

3.Prioriza el proceso no el objetivo

Aunque pueda sonar contradictorio, es más efectivo centrarte en el proceso que el objetivo (sin olvidarlo). Tomemos los ejemplos anteriores: si vas cumpliendo los pequeños objetivos, al final, llegarás al objetivo final sí o sí. Como dijo un amigo mío, si escribes un libro durante 30 minutos cada día, al final el libro se acabará escribiendo por sí solo.

4.Crea hábitos

Habit Stacking – Asociación de hábitos

Para un idioma la forma más fácil de fomentar un hábito nuevo, es asociarlo con un hábito que ya haces, y éste será el estímulo o activador.

Asociación simultanea

¿Te gusta correr, hacer footing o caminar y has podido crear uno de estos hábitos? Pues, ya tienes una oportunidad perfecta asociar el hábito antiguo con uno nuevo:  escuchar algo en inglés. Pon tu música preferida en inglés en Spotify o un podcast antes de empezar.

Igualmente, mientras haces y tomas tu primer café del día (si no tienes un niño encima) podrías poner un podcast o un video de YouTube, aunque sean 5 minutos. Lo importante es hacerlo.

Además, podrías asociar una actividad en inglés (como ver una serie) con un lugar (tu sofa como estímulo) y/o una actividad, cuando tomas un café o después de cenar.

Asociación secuencial

En este caso, puedes formar la frase

<<Después de (HÁBITO ACTUAL) Yo haré (MI NUEVO HÁBITO)

Por lo tanto, después de tomar tu café, escucharás un podcast de 30 minutos.

Nadie sabe tus hábitos y tu calendario como tú, y con muy poca organización puedes empezar a crear hábitos nuevos para estudiar.  Usa tu agenda para programar tu sesión de inglés y haz que sea inamovible. Tu cita será el activador para cumplir con tu cometido. Ponlo fácil.

Evitar distracciones

Por último, para facilitar tu sesión de aprendizaje, quita las distracciones de siempre. Es decir, todas las notificaciones que salen en tu móvil, FaceBook, Noticias, Instagram, Correos… Hazte un gran favor, y ¡deja el móvil lejos de tus sentidos!

5. Date una recompensa (Satisfacción)

Tenías hambre y en lugar de comer un trozo de fruta, ¡comes un trozo de pastel! Si estás de dieta pues, ¡respuesta errónea! Tu recompensa es el dulce sabor y seguramente el efecto del azúcar en tu sangre. Si quitas (escondes) el estímulo (señal), y pones otra recompensa, será más fácil cambiar de hábito.

Después de hacer una actividad en inglés, para motivarte y garantizar la repetición, sería interesante darte una recompensa. Esta vez sí, un trozo de pastel para cuando acabes una hora de lectura o un podcast. Ya sabes lo que te motive, pero ¡que no empeore tu salud! 

¿Cómo afrontas un nuevo reto?

¿Cuáles son tus estrategias?