Oh the many techniques I tried over the years to get words to roll off my tongue fluently. Much of the time I was very impressed that I could speak better.
Then, all of a sudden the stammering would raise its horrid little voice. Its own voice it had because it was overriding mine. I knew what I wanted to say, but the other voice would take over and out would pour a slur of unintelligible sounds.
Bickering lips, palpitations, cold sweats and thoughts of more sleepless nights on the horizon, was not a good way to live.
A different approach was needed if this was to be kept at bay. I asked myself the most important question ever (in terms of my speech, not my life).
I asked myself why.
What is it that makes the stammer worse? Every time without fail!
The answer: It’s fear.
Thinking of fear earlier, well, that got me thinking about this crazy clown craze that’s sweeping the nation. If I were to be faced with one, I don’t reckon I’d stammer one word. Granted it’d likely be a scream, but later, I’d likely to be able to tell the story of what happened, (provided the so-called killer clown was a prank).
Want to know why?
It is because it’s a distraction. When you stammer on any word, or letter, you’ll have thought about what you were going to say first. And been tense about saying what you wanted to say.
It’s that fear, or even paranoia, to a certain degree that brings with it a fair amount of tension. Tension is not good when you’re trying to control your speech.
Distractions though. They work, at least temporarily.
How many self-help courses have you taken that’s worked and then not? If you’ve even taken one and still have a persistent stammer, it’s because of trickery.
It’s not always the courses. Legitimately qualified speech pathologists could treat you for a stammer; you’d experience better fluency, and then find yourself back at square one.
I believe the reason for this isn’t the trickery of courses, but the trickery of your own mind. Any new technique you practice to improve your speech is going to have you thinking before you speak. Your mind is distracted from the way you’re speaking, because you’re focused on the techniques of whatever program you’re trying.
Unless you make those techniques natural habits, and until you do, you’ll always be at crosshairs with yourself. Thinking you’ve won your quest, to suddenly find yourself back where you started and searching again for answers.
The way you speak is the way you speak. For the majority of us, the speech problem first arose in childhood. Then it became a behavioural pattern.
Stress = stammer.
It’s behavioural conditioning. When you think you’ll stammer, you will and when you have a strategy to beat that stammer that’ll work too.
The mind’s a magical thing, but it’s brutal with the games it plays on your emotions.
I believe I’ve beat it, yet I’m still aware that it’s idle. It could come back, but I believe I’ve the strength, the knowledge, and the tenacity to always stick to my trained/learned behaviours to control how I speak.
When you fear you’ll trip up, you likely will. A lot of self-help stammering courses will give you something to think about for a while, both for before and when you’re speaking instead of thinking about the stammer. That’s the distraction when in reality anything will distract your mind.
When you have something that works do your best to transform it into a habitual behaviour rather than it just be a distraction. When the mind gets bored as it easily does, you’ll need another distraction, which in the case of stammering, means starting again with a new strategy.
Don’t let your mind fool you. It takes months (years isn’t unknown) to take complete control of your speech when it’s afflicted with a stammering problem.
Distractions work temporarily. Behavioural changes are solid!