Stammering, in most cases is psychological. There are certain medical conditions that can contribute to stammering, and if that is the case, then it’s going to be far more difficult to achieve fluent speech.
For the majority of people who have a stammer though, the problem is psychological. It’s a habit that’s formed, usually in early childhood, and for some reason or other, the speech hasn’t been corrected. It’s instead been allowed to develop into a habitual problem, and like any other habit… the longer it’s there, the harder it is to break.
Smoking is one example of a bad habit to break, and stammering is similar in that respect – for adults anyway.
You’ll have spent years repeating the same problems, so much so that it’s become second nature. Certain words trigger your anxiety and that heightened anxiety level causes you to worry when it comes to speaking the word aloud, and low and behold, it trips you up.
For many people, they get by just fine when they’re singing, and the only time the stammer creeps up is when they’re speaking. That’s why some people find that humming tunes can help them speak more fluently. The same thing can happen when you’re speaking to your dog or cat. You speak fine to the animal, but the instant you pick up the phone; it’s hard to get the first greeting out of your mouth smoothly.
The longer the issue’s been there, the more likely it is you’ll have some type of traumatic experience relating to the speech impediment. More often than not, it’s an experience of being ridiculed at some point in your life. As kids, there’s very little love and empathy for someone that’s different in anyway so for the person that is different, they’ve usually encountered ridicule at some point in their life.
When that emotional pain is there, it’s heightened when you need to speak in public. More so when you’re communicating with strangers, rather than friends, but nevertheless, you need to reach a stage when you can speak to anyone, with at least a level of comprehension that isn’t making others uncomfortable listening to you.
The more the people you speak to are uncomfortable, the more uncomfortable you become, and that makes fluent speech near impossible.
Not impossible but near impossible.
So how do move past emotional pain and onto speak more fluently?
The truth of it is that there is no clearly defined way to fluent speech. The only thing you can do is whatever you can to lower your anxiety levels.
Deep breathing exercises work great for that, but what works better is studying other public speakers. Imagine how they are feeling when they are standing giving their speech.
They’re going to be proud to be an honoured speaker at whichever event they are speaking at. And whatever they are saying, they are not spouting the words out off the top of their heads.
Their speeches are always well rehearsed and that’s what you can do to improve your speech.
Take any speech, whether you write it yourself for your best friend’s wedding, or find a Youtube clip of a powerful speech from one of your favourite movies.
Rehearse the words until you can recite it without needing the words in front of you. Use different tones to emphasise different parts of your speech.
The more you practice, the better you’ll become at it. It’s not going to drastically make a difference right away, but with practice, it’s going to help you develop a better natural speech pattern.
The words will always be the same and that at least takes away the burden of having to think of alternative words. Instead, your entire focus is on the speech you’re rehearsing.
The most powerful word you can introduce to your vocabulary is ah. Chances are you’ll know when you’re about to stammer before you actually do. It’s that insight into your own speaking pattern that causes you to trip up over the word.
Whenever you feel yourself about to stammer, simply say ‘ah’ and buy yourself some time instead of trying to hurry up and get past the problematic word.
The more anxious you are, the more likely it is the word will stump you, so use the word ‘ah’ to buy yourself a breather, take a deep breath and push on with whatever you have to say.
You’ll notice the more you practice speaking, the better your speech will become. It’s the forced nature of breaking the habitual pattern that helps you to better understand how you speak, how your facial muscles interact with different words, and your breathing patterns when you are speaking.
The more you understand your own speech, the better a position you’ll be in to change the way you speak.
While there is no instant cure or any proven cures for stammering for that matter; there are plenty of people, just like myself who have managed to overcome it.
The way I did it was old school, because there wasn’t access to the internet back in those days as it hadn’t been invented! What there were was role models, and pretty much anyone who could speak fluently, were role models for me.
I didn’t care what they had to say because all I was interested in was ‘how’ they were able to say it.
That self-studying is what enabled me to achieving fluency, and today I’m telling you how it works. Study the speech of others, and get an understanding of where your habits need changing and eventually you will find a way to speak fluently.