Approaching Your Speech As An Athletic Sport

As a former stammerer, I can’t begin to explain how intolerable those latter years were before I developed fluency. Words don’t go anywhere close to describing the reality of the nightmare, but if you want to read my best efforts at describing it, you can read my attempt here.

No doubt, if you have a stammer, you can relate.

Today I want to discuss something different though. It’s about practice, it’s about developing your speech until you reach fluency, and it’s about building on your own self-confidence in the process.

Nearly every client I’ve worked with has at one point searched for a cure to stammering. Many of them actually find me in their pursuit for that solution. That’s amid all the noise in the fortified vault of information (everything that starts with a www) telling you cannot cure a stammer.

Even Gareth Gates, at the height of his fame had a stammer and he did overcome it.

Did he cure his stammer?


Did he achieve fluency?

Yes he did.

While the approach Gareth Gates took to achieve fluency in his speech was different from my own speech rules, he had a similar attitude and that’s to approach the stammer in the same way you would as an athletic sport.

Athlete training

I love the way he put it in one of his interviews. Like all great athletes, if they don’t train they get rusty.

That approach is a great example of how to approach your speech. Train it daily, with persistence, applying the speech rules and after a while, your speech will begin to flow freely and completely stammer free.

That is the approach you need to be taking.

An approach of consistency based on the effort you put in.

Forget about these proclaimed anti stammering devices. The only thing you need is the knowledge to put fluent speech practice into place.

Practice it consistently and fluency will come.

Is it all about the breathing?

Look at any resources on curing a stammer and you’re sure to find an assortment of diaphragm exercises.

Some I have to laugh at. Breathe from a different part of your diaphragm I remember reading.

Sure, breathing is going to come into play at some point, because after all, if you’re hyperventilating at the thought of saying something out loud, fear is going to override your instincts and the words may well come out with a stammer.

But that does not mean that breathing is the key to overcoming a stammer; far from it. It’s only part of the process.

If you’re going to concentrate on breathing, you’re distracted from your speech. The one slightest of hiccups with any of your words and you’ll likely trip over more words.

The more you do it, the worse the stammer becomes.

When it does, you can use breathing exercises to calm your speech down, and let the words slowly flow, but you’ll find by taking that approach, you won’t be able to speak remotely close to natural.

The sound will be more like an automated voiceover that you’d hear on a computerised telephone line.

Not something you’ll want to sound like.

That’s why I think it’s important to take the training seriously. Devote yourself to your own personal development, commit to the speech rules, and treat it as an Olympic sport. Train, train and train some more.

As the old saying goes, practice really does make perfect. But on that same note, it’s not always best to strive for perfection. Even the best public speakers have their speech hiccups moments.

It’s in those moments that you have to accept them and push past them, and not let those moments push you back.

If you’ve a problem with setbacks or pushing forward with your speech, feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to help you start your journey to fluency.

Steve Hill

0121 453 9208 / 07967 549 070

Image courtesy of digitalart at

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