So I have received on multiple occasions, requests for more information on what exactly an initial consultation will look like.
This post will discuss what will it look like and why it is an important first step.
At its root, the initial consultation is a chance for me to meet you (the client) and for you (the client) to meet me. I will ask you questions to get to know you, learn your motivation for wanting to modify your accent and to determine if my services are appropriate for you.
1. When/where do you speak English?
This gives me a sense of your social/professional interactions and whether this will have a significant impact on your life. If you only speak English 30% of the time at work and you speak your native language 70% of the time at work and 100% of the time at home, then there is not going to be ample opportunity for practice and usage. If you only speak English at work and do not practice at home, your focus may be primarily on the actual subject matter at work rather than how you say it.
2. Where/When did you learn English?
Depending on your age when you started learning English, I can gauge your relative understanding of the language. If you learned English 2 years ago, chances are you may be less familiar with English idioms, follow a simple grammatical structure for your sentences and may have a more limited English vocabulary. My services are not for teaching you these things so it may be better suited for you to target an ESL language course or school -- many of which are located in Vancouver.
Depending on where you first learned English may help me understand your tendencies for certain sounds. Many clients often learn English in their native country. If an Italian English speaker grew up in Italy and learned English from an Italian English speaker in Italy (say that 10x fast), there is a higher probability that the English teacher had an Italian English accent.
3. What do you want to work on?
This may seem obvious but hear me out. Yes, I understand you want to work on your Canadian English accent. You want to sound clearer, to be understood more easily, and to get your message across to people. But for what reason? I cannot make you sound clear 100% of the time in all situations with 100% success. If you are looking for someone who can guarantee that, then good luck on your endeavors doing so -- but I cannot. If you are a telemarketer and you want to make yourself clearer when answering phone calls, I can practice a script for answering the phone, working on articulating your words to improve clarity and confidence, and troubleshoot specific phone-specific challenges. There are native English speakers who have difficulty with public speaking who have to practice their communication skills so you need to have realistic goals in mind.
Next, I take a speech sample from my interactions with you. Sometimes I record the entire interaction from start to finish.
The main things I need to hear you say include:
1) Specific word list
2) Client-generated sentences with the word list
3) Paragraph reading
I have a list of specific words that lets me hear how you say English sounds in different positions in a word. For example, the 'p' sound. Can you say it in the beginning of a word (e.g. pie), middle of a word (e.g. open) and the end of a word (e.g. loop). Next, does that pronunciation change when you now have to make up a sentence using that word (e.g. Lemon pie tastes good, Open the door, Make a loop using the shoelaces). Finally, I give you a paragraph to read to see how you pace yourself, your rhythm and sounds in context of other.
Lastly, we address any additional questions. This can range from cost per session ($120.00 as of 23/08/17), insurance coverage (if your extended benefits includes Speech Language Pathology), number of sessions (depending on accentedness and speed of acquisition of skills).
If you have any additional questions though, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.