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Pronunciation Tips, Trips and A Free Webinar #175

Pronunciation Tips, Trips and A Free Webinar #175   🎙️It's odd that some of the most brilliant people are held back by something about something so easy to fix. People worry about making a mistake, saying something wrong - or worse still not being understood. In a room full of people, that's often not worth the risk of embarrassment.

So let's fix this, once and for all! Let me show you some simple techniques to improve your English. You know the words, you know your stuff so let's give you the tools, techniques and confidence to share your knowledge and experience - for the good of your team, your industry but most important for you - it will be a massive confidence boost. 

Coco's Communication Challenge

Sign up and join this webinar.

It is normally exclusively available to VIP clients and is on Friday 24th of May at 10am CEST

Register >>> here <<<

There will be a replay but you’ll get a lot more out of it if you join us live. Bring any difficult to say words and phrases and I’ll share some great


to make pronunciation easier and fun.

PunctuationWebinar 24th May 2014


  • Today I will be sharing some quick, easy and enjoyable ways to improve your English pronunciation for better communication and confidence.
  • Having mentored many non-native speakers, both in my corporate life in London and as a certified coach and language trainer, I can tell you from their stories and successes that pronunciation, does make a difference. I’ll be talking to you about the difference between a charming accent and puzzling pronunciation and of course some simple strategies to make yourself easier to understand when you are speaking in English at work.
  • Clear pronunciation in corporate settings will make a difference to how you are perceived and received and how it can impact your credibility and effectiveness. If your reputation is on the line, I think you’ll agree that working on the way that you say things makes sense.
  • Oh and stay tuned for details of my free webinar on Friday 24th May when I will help you to actively turn your pronunciation around in an upbeat, fun and VERY interactive session.

The Importance of Pronunciation 

  • Let me take you back to the very start of the pandemic, I was coaching an extremely talented and dedicated young woman who spoke not just her own language and English but also excellent German. Her problem was not her vocabulary or grammar – her grammar was impeccable – still is.

    What made it difficult for people to really lean into her message was her pronunciation. She had an accent that I am sure many men found incredibly sexy but in a career setting, that’s certainly not the impression she wanted to make, she wanted to be seen as being the professional, committed, reliable expert that I knew her to be. A word of warning here actually, if you find someone’s accent attractive keep that thought to yourself.

    When you are working with me, I encourage my clients to reach out before any ‘professional performance’ to do a dummy run with me. A dummy run is a trial or test procedure which is carried out in order to see if a plan or process works properly.

    I suggest having a dummy run for example before you give the presentation or go into a job interview or performance review for example. A dummy run gives you the opportunity to make all of your mistakes, fix them and then go into the professional performance with more confidence and competence or ability. These dry runs are only available to existing VIP clients and of course this only works because I enjoy being flexible and spontaneous about when we meet – often at short notice. I keep time free for this as these are often the make or break moments in your career. 

    Anyway this lady, let’s call her Lucy had to give a talk but wanted to be sensitive to what was at the time an acute and sensitive time where Covid was very much about about deaths and isolation not inconvenience and
    the tedious nature of testing and masks. This was literally at the very beginning of the lock-down. Lucy wanted to say Please pray for peace, unfortunately what I heard was “Let’s pray for piss”.

    So as you can see, in a moment like this making a pronunciation mistake can be very embarrassing and make completely the wrong impression. Thankfully she made this mistake in the safe psychological space that I had created for our dummy run. We practiced her wording and pronunciation but in the end we reworded it to make a smoother and more sincere expression that was a lot more effective but also less stressful for her. She could make her announcement with confidence because we had caught, then fixed the pronunciation problem.

  • So yes, this pronunciation mistake could have raised eyebrows at best or worse still – sniggers in what was or should have been a brief but serious moment. So do you see how pronunciation can have a direct impact on the vibe in the room – or in this case – online space?

    Talking of online meetings, many of the standard tools like Zoom and Teams offer transcriptions now, so your mistakes will be ‘featured’ on screen. I once tested these out on behalf of some clients of mine with a coaching friend of mine. I told him to keep talking but his Glasgow accent was much too challenging for the AI to get it’s head around and what came out made us laugh – only because I know Graham well though. How are you and who are you got mixed up and he said something that I won’t repeat here that included swearwords that he never uses. So pronunciation is something we need to pay attention both in person and when we are working remotely online.

    So mistakes in pronunciation can lead to miscommunication, misunderstandings, and even embarrassment, got it, so what can we do about it?

  • So actually do you see that the benefits of improving your pronunciation are much more far reaching than being good at English, your pronunciation will change the way that you show up with much more confidence, easier to understand and pay attention to, and you’ll make a much more professional impression.

Finding the Right Accountability Partner is the Key

  • The bottom line is, we don’t know that we are making a mistake until someone points it out. I consider myself a strong observer and active listener but sometimes it has taken me years to notice the difference between my version and the right version. That makes me cringe but better later than never I guess. The classic example is Berlin. Now place names even cause newsreaders problems despite having plenty of experts and online tools at their disposal but saying the name of the place that you work in wrongly makes people think twice about your knowledge and experience.  If you live here in Berlin, the locals say BERlin but someone who hasn’t being paying attention to what is said by German speakers will often say it the way that we learned it at school and possibly heard in the news – BerLIN. Do you hear the difference, the emphasis has switched from the end to the start of the word. ….

    I had a friend who worked with Bayer for years but she used to always say Beyer. I found it rather irritating to the point that I checked with a couple of my friends – who confirmed, that the proper pronunciation of Bayer is Bayer. Do you see, if nobody draws your attention to it, you don’t even know that you are making a mistaken accountability partner in improving pronunciation.

    The problem is that many school teachers in European schools have made their pupils so paranoid about their pronunciation that I have fully grown experts with children of their own – coming to me who say that they were ridiculed in class. They don’t want their own children growing up with that stigma. That’s what inspired me to focus on pronunciation in this episode.

    My clients are often brilliant at what they do and committed senior managers but are still apprehensive about actually speaking in English…., having had a bad experience or a series of bad experiences at school. Teachers are responsible for motivating their students and providing a safe space in which to practice using the language but here in Pisa shamed Germany there is rarely any English spoken in class and when it is –  the less confident speakers are laughed at by their peers.

    Child abuse is when a child is harmed by an adult or another child – it can be over a period of time but can also be a one-off action. It can be physical, sexual or emotional and it can happen in person or online. It can also be a lack of love, care and attention – this is neglect.

    To me a teacher that tolerates ridicule in the classroom has failed to establish a safe learning environment and to my mind this is a form of child abuse. Those individuals carry that shame into their professional lives like a ball and chain. Those children grow up to be brilliant bankers, engineers, software developers etc but totally paranoid about their English. Teachers should be ashamed of the fact that these cognitively strong kids having had 5-8 years of English still feel anxious speaking in English. If you have a child that has had to suffer the same treatment, I have an alternative for you later in the show.

  • In terms of checking whether you are saying something correctly (bearing in mind it can sound great in our heads but not out loud), then no doubt you have a native speaker in the office, or someone who is at least a confident speaker and approachable enough for you to ask questions. But we’re all busy and there are only so many times that you can ask for favours. If like me you don’t want to be a burden or a pain, you might have to think of a way to reciprocate. By meeting and paying for lunch once a month or helping them with something that they struggle with you are in a better position to reach out for help… – get creative and find out how you can make it worth their while, if they have kids you can offer to babysit, or you can offer to cover for them on bank holidays. Find out what they need.

    The reality is that if you are just asking for a favour, making it a rather one sided thing, and they’re clearly busy, you’re likely to go back later, even if you need it now really. …

    Paying a coach like myself to help you means that if you need a dummy run, I squeeze you in, make sure that you are supported through voice messages via WhatsApp to improve the flow of your message and who will contact you immediately after your professional performance for a de-brief. Ok ok, so not every communication coach will interrogate you like I do but you know what I mean, if you are paying for someone to help you, they’ll make sure that you’re happy and going into your next conversation feeling confident.

    If you are serious about making a professional impression then let’s look at the advantages of having a dedicated coach or good friend to guide you through the process. 
    1. a coach or trainer will have the skills, techniques and tools to help you not only recognise the mistake but also to practice and correct it (long term).
    2. paying for a coach means that you are no longer in a position where you have to get support where and when they have time but when you need it.
    3. a coach will be more persistent, more motivational and more supportive, because we have been trained to use techniques that put you in the driving seat of learning and change.
  • The importance of seeking and receiving constructive feedback for anything in life is what moves the needle between mediocre and magnificent. Having someone to motivate and inspire you is something that I had always been advocate of.

    My dad is a German guy who is multi passionate and once he gets his teeth into something, he’s determined to be the best, whether that is sailing or business and he always said to me ‘Wer nicht fragt bleibt dumm!” somehow it sounds lame in English “He who doesn’t ask stays stupid!” – not doing it for me, but you know what I mean. The ability to look like a fool for a moment instead of being the fool forever is something I grew up with and he lead by example, he was always asking people (pre Google) about the name of plants in English, varnishing the boat, how to take cuttings and he joined clubs so that he could find out more and share his own knowledge. Surrounding yourself by experts is very much a value that I was raised with.

    When I joined Toastmasters I experienced how rewarding it can be to receive great feedback, not the overtly direct and negative feedback that so many of us have learned to avoid like the plague but respectful, constructive feedback that inspires you to try something different and focus on a couple of things next time to improve your performance on stage. Feedback from the heart is the biggest gift that you can receive….

  • For feedback to be effective it is a smart move to use as many of the senses as you can. So you can just listen to what people have to say, but if you write it down too, you not only can refer to it later but the kinesthetic action of writing makes it stick more. Do your brain another favour by repeating the correct version immediately – ideally out loud. Something simple like ‘Oh thank you, so it’s x not y, got it.’ That doesn’t disturb the flow of conversation too much and expresses gratitude and correction in just a few words.

    People see, aha they’re taking it in, worth my time and effort. 

So how can you help the children in your life to feel confident speaking in English?

  • Many of you have children of your own or have relatives who might have suffered from terrible teaching at school and you might have heard phrases like ‘I hate English’ or ‘My English teacher is so terrible’. It’s frustrating right? You know only too well that in the world of work – no matter what you do, you will need to speak English, particularly in office jobs. You might feel fairly powerless to be honest, it’s tricky to change the teacher and paying for tutoring is not only expensive but just an extension of the same pedagogical agony that they are faced with at school as a rule. Kids of any age don’t want to learn English, they want to have fun and if that happens to be in English then if it’s cool enough they’ll be speaking English in no time.

    Now as I briefly touched on earlier we used to have a old but much loved sailing boat when I was a little girl and despite never having done a Sailing certification, I won my first trophy as best crew when I was just 4 years old. We have sailed and renovated lots of different boats but one thing you learn pretty fast is that you have to communicate clearly, work together with each other and the wind and have a plan. Imagine your son or daughter setting sail from Kiel on an adventure with other kids with the wind in their hair – even though they’ve never sailed before or met these kids before, they’re working together in no time, tying knots, navigating, preparing food all in imperfect but increasingly fluent English. They’re so busy doing their bit that there is no time to agonize over whether you are making a mistake or not and sailing is a beautiful experience that will get them out of their rooms and into the fresh air. Yes the crew will be available to help them to find the right English words and discretly and kindly they will receive that constructive feedback I just talked about but these kids lose their inhibitions and will come back with more confidence, vocabulary and if they’re anything like me very messy hair and freckles.

    My wonderful friend Laurie will be setting sail for the Kiel/Ostsee tour on the 27th of July and returning on the 2nd of August – if your kids are up for an adventure, just email my wonderful friend Laurie at to secure your spot – it could well be the best parenting decision you ever make and they’ll come back more independent too as it’s literally all hands on deck and none of the hungry crew get fed without a team effort below deck either. I’m passing on half of my commission on this to you my listeners, just mention Corinne Wilhelm from ‘Experts! Speak English’ when you book and start planning a couple of date nights.

    A sailing holiday might sound extravagant until your child doesn’t make it into their favourite university or cannot pass their MSA, if you are a parent, god parent, grand parent, aunty or just a decent person who has a soft spot for a special youngster, then this might well be an investment that you’ll be remembered for. A no brainer for popularity points.

    Is it just for kids?
    At the moment yes, but we are thinking about putting together a tour for English Speaking Experts either at the end of the this year or the beginning of next year, sign up for my newsletter to be kept up to speed – or since we are talking about sailing – in the loop 😉

    But I do have an option for students that are in danger of having to resit the year or exam too of course. It is a language learning holiday in the UK with a gentleman that I got to know when I was more active as a Business English trainer than a communication coach and consultant. You won’t be trapped in a classroom all day, in actual fact your kids won’t feel trapped at all, there is a lot of humour, inspiring discussions and of course in the afternoons you get to do sightseeing with the local native speaking trainers, so you can look forward to some inspiring stories and lots of photos. Here there is more theory than on the sailing holiday where the focus is on conversation and the sailing experience.

    The language school company, ‘More Than English’ offer international summer courses for children of all ages in the UK, head over to the shownotes for a link to their brochure and contact details. Their website is

    I hate to put you under pressure but the last time I did a show about this (Episode 131) someone told me that they put it off and by the first week in June they were sold out, so be sure to book by the end of May.

    The trick is to finding a teaching approach where the focus is on speaking with native speakers, feedback is great but practice and building confidence is more important. An easy way to do this for us as full time professionals, is to attend English speaking events and training sessions – check out Meetup and Eventbrite or Linkedin Events.

    You’ve probably come across the Linkedin Audio events too, although these are a little bit clunky for first timers, they are a convenient way to an English conversation about business as you work, it’s a good way to network too. I particularly like the Friday morning JobHouse session at 8.30

    If you don’t want to be the expert that keeps being promoted over because your English isn’t good enough or you’re not ready yet (which normally means that you do not have the communication and leadership skills necessary) then perhaps I am the right person to help you, as your coach. These days I am working more as a communication coach and consultant not a trainer but old habits die hard and so I always make notes of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation and if you would like feedback I will happily share it with you at the end of the session.

  • Many people come to me for coaching frustrated that they are not getting the career breaks that they had hoped for and because I have specialized in working with non-native speaking experts in technology, it is often their own self-consciousness and hesitation in speaking English that is holding them back. It’s often easier to get the confident speaker to do something that would be much more effort for you isn’t it? Whether that’s rising to the leadership challenge of onboarding someone, giving a presentation or meeting someone from the airport and making them feel welcome, every time you pass that opportunity to someone else, you are denying yourself of an opportunity. You’re actually handing them an opportunity to practice their English, get face time with decision makers so for all intents and purposes offering your promotion to them on a plate.

    If you don’t take a chance, you don’t stand a chance.

    Ultimately you have to ask yourself this, are you going to help yourself or help them.

    Females in particular are quick to back down if someone else is interested and yes we have been socialised to be considerate, kind and thoughtful but if you are genuinely interested in more pay, more opportunities and more inspiring responsibilities then you have put yourself forward and rise to the challenge. Yes you will make mistakes but with every mistake, if you can learn from those, you are making progress, getting practice and gaining more exposure as the English Speaking Expert. That doesn’t make you an arrogant, ambitious bitch, it makes you good at what you do, someone that can be relied upon to get the job done and to take the lead. You have to start worrying less about what people think (or we what we think they think) because that takes energy away from doing what has to be done to be recognised as the professional that you are.

Communicate with Confidence: A Comprehensive Leadership Program

Speaking of dedicated professionals, I have an exciting opportunity for you. You see, mastering English communication is just the first step in my comprehensive “Communicate with Confidence” leadership program.

Step 1: English Mastery – Refresh and refine your English skills to eliminate distracting mistakes and communicate with clarity.
Step 2: Communication Kudos – Develop the ability to convey your message with precision and impact, ensuring your ideas resonate with your audience.
Step 3: Lean into Leadership – Cultivate the mindset, skills, and self-awareness to inspire and influence others, positioning yourself as a catalyst for positive change.
Step 4: Personal Branding – Establish your presence as a confident and compelling industry leader, elevating your personal brand and credibility.
Step 5: Diversity Dynamite – Embrace inclusivity and leverage the power of diverse perspectives, equipping you to navigate and thrive in tomorrow’s dynamic global landscape.

Power up your pronunciation Webinar 

  • Given the topic of pronunciation, Coco’s Communication Challenge is to sign up for the  “Power up your pronunciation” webinar.
  • It’s this Friday 24th May, at 10 AM here in Berlin or CEST time, you can sign up via englishspeakingexperts/webinars
  • You can expect some quirky pronunciation insights that I used to learn how to say words in Finnish and German mainly but also in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian during my Reuters days as the Nordic Equity Analyst. There were a lot of names to remember and say when I was having to clarify something with the stock exchanges. I’ll show you techniques for visualizing the pronunciation and we’ll play a pronunciation game, let’s see if you can get onto the Leaderboard.
  • In just one hour, I’ll help you to improve your pronunciation, so come armed with words and phrases that you need at work but get stressed out having to say, so that we can use those specifically to become a more confident English speaking expert. …You’ll soon see that once the pronunciation is easier, you speak up more and once you speak up more, you get noticed more – it’s a chain reaction that is so much easier to fix than you might think.
  • I’ll see you on Friday, register as soon as you can,

Allow me to summarize the key pronunication take-aways

  • Pronunciation can have an impact on your reputation as a professional but it is easy to fix 
  • Find an accountability partner that will commit to helping you and find a way to express your gratitude
  • For the amazing kids and teens in your life, you can turn the English apathy ship around, literally, with a wonderful sailing holiday with an English speaking crew and programme with Laurie and Duncan, two incredibly experienced children’s English teachers that have a nothing like school approach via or by going to the UK with more than English for a more structured school like approach with plenty of socialising. I earn a small commission on each but I am very picky about who I do joint ventures with and you will get a   half of my commission as a discount.
  • Pronunciation is part of my five part coaching system but you have an opportunity to try out some simple but effective techniques to improve your pronunciation at Friday’s webinar, there will be a recording that I am happy to send out to but you will gain so much more by being there in person and will have techniques that you can use again and again in any language and test out some cool tools and resources to help you. That was Coco’s Communication Challenge – to sign up for the webinar at It will almost certainly be your most constructive hour on Friday.

    So that brings us to the end of another episode of “Experts Speak English!”, hit share if someone you know if self conscious about their accent or pronunciation and if you want to help me get in front of more amazing leaders just like you then a rating and review makes a massive difference, despite only taking a few minutes to do.

    You’ve been listening to Corinne Wilhelm from English Speaking Experts. I look forward to seeing you on Friday, until then be the very best communicator that you can be – taking your credibility to the next level, one conversation at a time. 

    Take care now

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