Trying to change the way you speak is no easy feat. It certainly is possible. To give you a reference point to begin with and progress with the self-help approach to correcting your speech, it’s my hope that the following five steps can be of help to you.
Depending on how long you’ve stammered for, you may have already surpassed this stage. This is the stage when you stop trying to not to stammer. If you don’t know by now, the more you try not to, the more you will stammer. It’s like being told not to look at something. The instant someone says to you not to look, curiosity kicks in and you look anyway.
When you try not to stammer, it will cause you to stammer. The focus needs to change to discovering how to stop stammering.
1) Study normal breathing versus breathing for speaking
Watch any speech take place, and pay attention to the speaker. They are not doing anything you cannot do. The difference lies in the breathing behaviour. The instant you start to panic, you breathe heavier, and as a result, your speech becomes hurried.
Breathing for speaking is much different from breathing for living. Learn the difference between the two, and you’ll be able to practice purposeful breathing, which will help you to pace your speech. That will inevitably cause you to speak with more clarity.
2) Study the nature of stammering
Not everyone is going to like this part, because much of the publications surrounding stammering are whitepapers and scientific journals. They don’t always make the most interesting of reading. But here’s the thing…
Scientists and medical researchers have studied language behaviour for decades. There is likely no speech pattern in existence that has not been studied. When you read the scientific journals and whitepapers, you’ll be able to relate the studies to your own speech.
Some will publish different techniques you may want to try, whereas others you read may only give you peace of mind from knowing that there are things being done consistently and there are people in the world who are experiencing the same frustrations and negative emotions you are.
While many people who have a stammer have unique differences, they can all be traced back to the nature of stammering and that’s the subject you want to get a deep knowledge base on; because with that knowledge, you can progress to #4…
3) Speech analysis
Based on your in-depth understanding of the nature of stammering, you’ll become your own expert to understand your speech behaviour, recognise patterns, and understand what causes you to stammer.
Without a deep foundational knowledge base of stammering, you could spend your life trying any of the thousand and one ways to modify speech, without ever knowing the reason why you’re trying to do whatever it is you’re implementing in your attempts to modify your speech.
4) Experiment continually
The more you know about your stammering, and understand your own stammer you’ll be more equipped with the knowledge of your behaviour and be able to implement small changes at a time.
Know when you stammer, what caused it, what breathing techniques you can use to control the pace of your speaking and even how the placement of your tongue can help you pronounce consonants more clearly.
The journey of speech modification is life-long. It’s a learning experience that never ends, there’s new studies and research papers continually published, giving you a never ending stream of study material. None of it will be any use to you until you begin to study the material and study you.
Much of the studies you’ll be able to relate with, but you can also find yourself taking snippets of advice from multiple sources and tailoring your own self-help technique to more fluent speech.
If all that sounds a bit much and you’re looking for a faster way to begin your journey to more fluent speech, I’ve already been there. You can learn from my personal experiences published in the study materials here, and of course, the support of myself; a former stammerer.
I welcome you to contact me at any time.