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Meet the Member: Lisa Patti, Founder & CEO, AccentC3
Member news | August 19, 2019
In our latest Meet the Member feature, we spoke with Lisa Patti, Founder & CEO at AccentC3.
AccentC3 teaches the skills needed to deliver a clear and connected message whether you are on the phone, giving a presentation or during a meeting. C3 stands for Communication, Clarity and Culture; elements which are integrated into each program. Accent C3 offers accent reduction, intonation training or voice work. You can choose among the options of private coaching, video conferencing, or small groups perfect for on-site delivery in corporations.
Keep reading to learn more about Accent C3’s purpose, Lisa’s advice on communication and speech-language, as well as her experience with the FACC.
FACC: AccentC3 (Communication, Clarity and Culture) coaches individuals and professionals in corporate speech training, foreign accent reduction, voice and regional accent reduction. Can you convey how important tone and delivery are in ensuring that your message is accurately communicated and beyond that, that your message resonates as you intended with your audience, invoking understanding, sympathy, approval, skepticism or a wide range of potential emotions?
LP: We all want to sound confident but what that looks like and how we get there might be different for each of us. If your voice is not connected to your words, or to your story it affects your believability. Voice and body language convey a lot of information and trigger emotion. Think of what a voice can evoke in your mind when you think of voices you like to listen to, and those you do not.
Often when we know something really well, we might become a little monotone because we've said it so many times so concentrating on varying your pitch is important. Each culture has its own beliefs around communication and how to use voice, facial expression, volume, and the amount of information delivered, so it is not a one size fits all approach.
FACC: Studies have shown positive correlations between a person’s height and their career success, specifically as it relates to salaries in management positions. Similarly, does being aware of your voice and delivery (which unlike height is something you can control), tend to open more avenues, professionally?
LP: Unfortunately, yes, it does. We live in a society where we have preconceived notions about the voice of leadership. Think of the US elections and how many people focused on Hillary Clinton's voice. People typically think of a deeper voice as more commanding, but physiologically that is not possible for everyone. Women tend to speak in a naturally higher pitch range. I have worked with women who want to work on lowering pitch, yet it is really about having a more open and confident voice. Body type, gender and other factors affect voice, yet everyone can learn to use and maximize that tool in business if they understand how it works.
FACC: One of your coaching services focuses on regional accent reduction. How can regional or foreign accents play either negatively or positively into how an individual, and their ability to perform in a given role, is perceived?
LP: My work tends to focus on using your accent as leverage to be unique. In NYC people love an accent, but it needs to be clear or you might miss a moment to deliver an important piece of information. There have been studies that show confidence is a key factor when communicating, with or without an accent. Unfortunately, there might bias on the part of a listener and how they perceive an accent. There is even talk now about AI having a bias to voices. Understanding the intonation of a language, the musicality, where to put the stress, and how to deliver it is powerful in connecting to a local audience and is just as important if not more, than thinking about sounds.
FACC: What is one piece of advice you have for professionals who are nervous or stressed when faced with presenting in front of a group?
LP: This is a hard one because speaking in front of a group is a very common fear. As the saying goes, we are our own worst critics, I was not always a natural public speaker and it took time for me to be as comfortable as I am now. I wanted it to be perfect which also puts a lot of pressure on how you deliver. I learned how to become more natural and have more of a conversation with my audience. Recording or filming yourself can help here. Even though we don't love to hear or watch ourselves it Is a great learning tool. Slowing down your speaking rate, (not too much!) is a way to trick your brain into thinking everything is calm, and it's not time to tense and run. Before you begin a presentation, take a second to take a breath, pay attention to where you carry tension, whether it be in your shoulders, your neck or jaw and release those before speaking.
FACC: What sparked your passion for speech-language pathology, and in an international context?
LP: I decided to focus on international executives, startups and students because I believe in the power of communication and very early on fell in love with the international world. Growing up with the diversity of NYC and spending a lot of time with my grandparents who immigrated from Italy also exposed me to the impact of diversity and how important that is in having a competitive edge. When I started my master's in speech pathology, I wrote my master's thesis on a related topic. I studied speech pathology because I always thought communication is our greatest asset. Since then, I have studied intercultural communication and apply the techniques I've learned to my work which I have been doing for many years.
FACC: The FACC is a mosaic of diverse members. Have you made any valuable connections within the community? Would you recommend the network to other professionals?
LP: What I have gained from the FACC is access to a strong network of professionals from the French community and all over the world. I have worked with some clients that I met at the FACC and learned from other members through some interesting collaborations and talks at events. When I ask about a connection to another member, it is always addressed quickly and professionally. I am happy I decided to become a member and would recommend it to any other entrepreneur looking to grow their network!
Interested in connecting with Lisa? Log into the FACC Member Directory to send her a message.