When new clients come to me, one of the first things they say is, “I want to get rid of my accent.” My answer is always the same: “Why on earth would you want to do that.”

There is a common misperception that accents are what stand in the way of clear communication. I just don’t agree.

Your accent is a HUGE part of who you are. Every time you open your mouth, you speak volumes about your culture, your heritage, your upbringing — everything that is you. To change your accent is to change who you are.

Does this then mean that you don’t need to pay attention to how you speak? Absolutely not.

We all need to speak as clearly as possible, regardless of our accents. There are plenty of Americans who can hardly be understood in international settings, and there are many Singaporeans, for example, who speak beautifully clear international English, and yet you will know immediately that they are Singaporean.

And what exactly is wrong with that?

Stop blaming miscommunications on your accent and start focusing on the clarity of your speech.