So many people that have a stammer travel the treacherous road of trying to change their speech pattern without acknowledging the pattern in the first place.
There is a pattern.
It’s just up to you to find it. It means being honest with yourself, admitting that there is a pattern, and understanding that your speech is being directly infiltrated by your actions.
Pay attention to the words you speak in your next conversation. Close attention that is. Look for the cues that tell you the stammer is about to happen. Everyone has their cues. For some it could be jerking their head to the right, for others it could be realising three words in advance that a stammer is about to surface.
When you know the stammer is about to occur, what’s your current pattern?
That’s the first thing you need to identify because it’s that pattern that will directly help you later to stammer better.
That’s right – stammer better.
It’s far easier to improve your stammer so that people can understand you, rather than being asked a question, quivering, catching a gulp of air in the back of your throat, breaking out in a sweat and not being able to utter a sound.
To get the sound out, you need to acknowledge the patterns first, so you know when you’re about to hit a block in your vocabulary, acknowledge it and put things in place to get the words out.
One technique you can use to help you improve your speech pattern is to read aloud. It only takes fifteen minutes a day, and it will help you tremendously.
Just using that time, on your own to read aloud, you will begin to improve your vocabulary and a side effect is that you’ll get better with sounding syllables. When it comes to altering your stammering pattern, it takes acknowledgement of your speech behaviour.
You may feel your jaw tense, in which case, you’ll want to integrate some muscle relaxations into your daily routine. Sometimes it’s not the stammer that’s the problem, but it’s the associated patterns of your jaw muscles, or even your head movements that impact how you pronounce words.
With an understanding of how you stammer, you can create your own program to stammer better:
- Monday, read aloud and reduce the tension in your left jaw
- Wednesday, read aloud and increase the tension in your right jaw
- Friday – read aloud and attempt to not tense your jaw muscles at all.
You can create a uniquely tailored approach to your stammering when you understand your current speech behaviour. That’s why it’s imperative that you take the time to analyse your stammering behaviour.
You don’t have to do it all alone. If you have a friend who you trust to listen to you without being negative about your speech, then enlist their help to tell you when you’re displaying tension, and when you’re speeding up your speech, because when you speed up your words, it’s likely to happen a few words in advance of hitting a stumbling block. Whether you know it or not, your subconscious does.
The only other thing you absolutely need to do is get rid of your own blocking behaviours. People that stammer can be their own worst enemy, because over the years of torment, coping strategies have been used to help deal with the speech problem. From word substitution to breathing exercises to help the word flow, you need to get rid of them.
These are keeping you in your comfort zone, and that’s no way to improve. That goes for every self-improvement area in life you want to focus on and it applies to those with fluent speech, too. If you are in your comfort zone, you are not in a zone for improvement.
You must get familiar with being uncomfortable, because it’s the only way to achieve self-improvement in any area of life.
Nobody is comfortable 100% of the time when meeting new people and you can take advantage of that fact to help improve your speech. When you have a good knowledge of your stammering pattern, and have created a list of your avoidance strategies, put yourself on the front line. Go to the bar, the local café, take the bus or train, and force yourself to speak to people.
The more you open up dialogue, the better you’ll begin to hone your speaking skills and be able to stammer to a level that everyone can understand what you are saying, and your anxiety levels will decrease.
You’ll become comfortable with your stammering behaviour because you will know you are comprehensible.