Unless you are planning to become an actor, I see no reason to try to get rid of your accent as long as you speak clearly.
This is a prerequisite for success. It does not matter where you live or what language is your mother tongue.
Along with your education and experience, your communication skills are paramount in securing a job. Assuming that you are qualified for the position you have landed, your communication skills will take precedence over everything else. No matter how great your abilities, if your words are not being understood the first time you say it, then your lack of clarity in speaking will place you on questionable footing with your company.
Let's say that you are living in Germany but were born in China. Unless the company for which you are seeking employment is an international firm, the chances are likely that Deutsch will be the language you will be speaking. If your accent is so heavy that your Deutsch is hard to understand, than the firm will probably hire the candidate whose articulation and pronounciation is better than yours.
How do you improve your diction?
- Speak in the language of your adopted country at home. This is extremely important. I have found that those whose diction is not understandable tend to be speaking their mother tongue among their family and friends. The more you speak in the language of your adopted country, the better you will become.
- Try a voice training course. While the purpose of voice training is to improve the sound of your speaking voice, one of the many benefits of this type of training is that your diction will improve dramatically.
- Learn to control your speed. Often those whose language is difficult to understand are talking at 100 mph! Being able to control your speed will definitely have an impact on your diction. Understand that I am suggesting you talk slowly; however, if you can slow down to 80 mph, you are still speeding but you diction will be that much clearer.
When I was living and working in Canada, my ex-husband, a symphony conductor and Austrian by birth, was unable to understand any of my clients in their 'before' readings. However, he understood everyone in the 'after' video recordings. And, my clientele was diverse and international.
An accent is part of what makes you, you. It distinguishes you and is part of your heritage and background. What you need is accent reduction - not accent elimination. Don't try to get rid of it, just clean it up!
If you would like to see some dramatic 'before' & 'after' video clips, start with Craig by visiting Voice Dynamic and go to the center of the page. Then check out The Voice Lady's other video clips in the menu bar.