Monday, December 19, 2011


Attn all:  My new phone number is (732) 807-5424.  This a permanent phone number, you can reach me via text or voice wherever I am.

Remember that I offer a free phone consult and a free no obligation trial lesson.  Call me today!  I'm running a New Years Special:

Have you ever made a "New Years Resolution"?  A New Years Resolution is a resolution to do something better, to make yourself better in the New Year.  Do you want to reduce your accent to do business better in America, so that people understand you when you speak, so that you can give presentations to your bosses and your bosses boss?  Do you want to speak good English, eloquently with only a faint trace of an accent?

Have you ever dreamed of having the good, moderate, soothing speech tones of a salesman or an actor?  I can help!  Give me a call @ (732) 807-5424 today to set up your free trial lesson.  For the rest of December and the entire month of January, I will give $20 off to anyone who purchases an entire month of lessons.  Get $160 worth of lessons for $140!

And of course, don't forget to check out my American Idiom of the Day Twitter Feed or check out my accent reduction training website for details.  Call (732) 807-5424 TODAY!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Other possible conversation openers and ways to make small talk:

As I've mentioned before, small talk is the art, in America and other places, of making social talk that acts as a social lubricant.  We make small talk with our colleagues and with people we want to meet or network with.

Small talk is called small talk because topically it is about the small things we enjoy in our everyday lives--sports, kids issues at school, food, pets (dogs, cats, lizards, hamsters, etc)--just about anything can serve as subject for "small talk" as long as you remember that another reason small talk is small talk is that it is "small" in nature--unserious, not deep, not in-depth or deeply emotional.

(American football and baseball are excellent topics for small talk in America, and you may often find that some Americans are interested in what you call football and what Americans call soccer and cricket--for the difference between "American football" and what might be called "football" where you are from, check out this series of posts on David Berlin's ESL and Accent Reduction Training page on Facebook. )

It's worth noting again here that "How are you" is a *greeting* in America, similar to "hello" and the appropriate answer is, "things are fine, thanks" or "things are good, thanks".  It's not that the asker doesn't care how you are.  It's just that if he wants to know he will figure it out in other ways--by observing you to see if your body language or tone of voice indicates upset, emotional stress, or what have you.

(This is why, by the way, it's important to learn good, proper American intonation and speech rhythm--because your if your English intonation and rhythm are not correct, an American may assume that you are upset or not happy in some way and will wonder what he or she can do about it.

(So for instance, if you are from Germany, Russia, Poland, or somewhere similar--Eastern Europe or Russia in particular, your English vocabulary may be fine but your rhythm and intonation will give Americans the idea that you are unfriendly or even hostile, even if you are friendly and personable.  Americans derive emotional content from intonation--mostly musical pitch and other things, rhythm, how you stress your words, syllables, and vowels, and so on.)

In any case, I meant to talk about the art of good conversation in America, but I got sidetracked.  What a shame.  However, if you'd like help with this, give me a call @ (732) 618-4135 or contact me via email @ or on Skype @

I have some really good handouts and a short ebook on the topic.

My Skype rates for simple English conversation practice for international students are considerably lower than my rates for private lessons where I travel to a students location.  Get in touch with me for details.

All right?  All right.  New podcast on American conversation and small talk coming soon.