Speakers’ anxiety hits everyone so it’s not isolated to just those with a stammer. Because it’s a widely known problem, there’s so much you can learn from everything to do with speaking. Take yourself away from the stammering mentality and bring yourself into groups with one focus… speaking better.
Universal speaking tips for fluent speakers and those with a stammer:
1. Talk with rhythm
This isn’t about singing whatever you want to say. How crazy would it sound if all of our conversations were done through song?
What I mean with rhythm is pacing your speech. A good way to do that is when you’re practicing your speech at home, don’t just practice sitting down. Get up and move around.
Plug in your MP3 player and listen to a sound recording you have from an audiobook, pausing once in a while and then replicate it. Download speeches or podcasts from influencers you follow online. Podcasters are always trying to better their speech to improve their deliverance. You can learn a few things from them.
Pace your speech by walking up and down the room as you rehearse what you’re going to say.
2. Relaxation is a must to speak fluently
Anxiety is the ultimate speech barrier. If you haven’t tried visualisation, definitely try it. Imagine anything that helps you feel relaxed and keep that picture in mind. You don’t just have to imagine either. When you’re practicing, it can be helpful to keep a picture or a sentimental item on you to help stimulate relaxation.
Irregular heartbeats and fast breathing is what many with a stammer recognise as their cues. Therefore, do what you can to regulate your breathing and heart rate and there’s a better chance you’ll avoid stammering.
3. Know your surroundings
This isn’t always possible, however when it is, take advantage of it.
Say for example you have in interview coming up. The anxiety may well be relentless. You have no idea what to expect, what the co-workers will be like etc. Now imagine you open your local paper and see an open day advertised. It could be your college that’s holding one and the company you’re due to interview with has a stall at that open day.
The better choice would be an open day at the workplace. Many large organisations do this as part of their onboarding process. Whatever you can do to familiarise yourself with the surroundings you’ll be in when you need to put on a show will help you relax when you’re speaking on the day.
4. Speaking classes are taking place near you
People with a stammer tend to look for courses that teach them to stop stammering. It’s natural, but it can feel like a flea market. Instead, there’s other speaking classes geared towards public speaking.
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t we all public speakers?
We speak in public so yeah. Everyone talks to entertain, persuade, or tell stories. So any speaking course that helps you with that will teach you something or a lot of things you didn’t have in your knowledge bank before.
5. Focus on your body language and not your voice
When you find it hard to get the words out of your mouth, shift your focus from speaking to presentation. Instead of sticking on a word you can’t get out, use your body language to keep people engaged in what you’re saying. That will buy you at least a couple of seconds of a pause for you to take a deep breath and jump right back in where you left off.
Anyone of those tips alone could be a vital component to you overcoming the stammer.