How To Stop A Stutter
Take this advice from someone who has been stuttering for many years.
It's not easy having your name called in the classroom to read out loud when you know your about to stutter through the next paragraph. It's also not easy being ignored by someone to have a conversation with as they know your going to stutter through a sentence. This has been my reality for many years and I never imagined what life could be like without having a stutter, only because I thought it would be something I could never get rid of.
There have been times where I was scared to speak in front of a group of people, and times where I needed to leave a job due to the amount of speaking that was required for the role. But the worst one of them all has been the days where I lied about being sick to not go into school, as I knew I would have to read out loud for a presentation or assignment that was due. Stuttering has impacted my life in many ways and it's a shame that I've wasted money and time with multiple speech therapy classes over the years but none of them have reduced or eliminated my stuttering.
Now you may be thinking if I still have the stutter to this day and the truth is I do but it comes and goes. For all the years I've been stuttering, it's only until recently I'm able to speak more clearly and be able to finish off sentences. This is due to the techniques that I've created for myself to help reduce my stutter. But I would be lying to you by saying I'm fully responsible for making these techniques as my former manager Lorenzo who is the owner of an Italian restaurant gave me some tips and tricks for having clear speech.
So if you're a stutterer or if you know anyone that has a stutter, then I'm about to share with you those techniques that will most likely reduce your stuttering habits. These techniques will not eliminate your stutter overnight and are tips for you to work on over time. Take these techniques into practice and start to use them whenever your speaking or reading. It will be hard at first but once you've adapted them into your mind, you'll start to see a difference with your speech and will be able to speak and read with confidence.
Technique #1: Don't think about what you're going to say
Don't overthink anything. This is the first technique that needs to be addressed as overthinking can lead into other bad habits that won't be good for reducing a stutter.
Often when I used to stutter constantly it was because I was thinking too much of my next sentence, so I would be ready to say it before someone else started talking over me. However, the more I thought about the sentences, the more nerves I had and the more nerves I had the less confident I will able to speak clearly. If you don't have the confidence whilst your speaking then it leads to stuttering.
Often when you think about what your going to say, you mind focuses on how your going to pronounce the words your going to say or sometimes will get you thinking of ways to avoid certain words that you most likely will stutter on. This is a bad habit to get into as missing certain words that you don't want to say will only make your stuttering habits become more apparent and that's clearly not the goal your trying to achieve. You also don't want to overthink anything as you don't want the nerves to get the best of you. This is because nervousness will give you a rise in heart beat and you won't be able to control those deep breaths ins and outs that will help you speak more clearly.
So as the first technique and the most important one, I highly encourage you or the person that has the stutter to not think about your words and sentences.
Technique #2: Confidence is everything
When it comes to stuttering, often it's times when people don't usually speak or have face to face conversations with a group of people. This may be due to having a lack of confidence to speak up for a certain reason.
Back when I was in my school days, I never had confidence in myself as I was often the target for people to go ahead and bully me which lowered myself esteem. So I was the quiet girl in the classroom that never spoke, but when it came to answering a question outloud to everyone, I would often say five word sentences or one liners as I was too nervous to say more words. Thinking of the different ways to reduce my stutter, it got me thinking of why I stuttered in the first place and deep down it's been my confidence that has been weighing me down for all these years.
As you can see from the diagram above, the lack of confidence leads into a small chain of events that gave the stuttering habit. So for this technique were going to the source of how the stuttering began and eradicating that factor. The lack of confidence is usually the circumstance with most stutters so I need you to focus on ways to boost your confidence. General ways to boost your confidence are small simple things that can start doing right now, which includes fixing your posture, standing up straight, being yourself and speaking louder which is part of technique #3. Of course everyone is different and don't want to give my ways that boosted my own confident as that may not be the same for you. But I really need you to build up the those walls of confidence that's hidden within you, so you can improve your speech by getting rid of the source that's causing your stuttering.
Technique #3: Deep breath and say the words smoothly
When your nervous you try to control your deep breaths but the nerves get the better you. Your heart is racing so fast because all the nerves are muddled up in your mind. So if you don't think about your going to say you'll be able to control your deep breaths.
This technique is very easy to get used to as you'll notice how easier it becomes to say words more smoothly. You'll naturally pronounce letters at the beginning of words more softly which will bring you forward to speaking a clear sentence without stopping in between. When you begin doing this it's better to take deep breaths at the beginning of a sentence to practice saying the words more smoothly and efficiently.
Technique #4: Speak loud, Clear and Slowly
As I mentioned before speaking up louder is a way to gain confidence as people will be more willing to listen to you than suppose to speaking very quietly and have others interrupting you. But if you speak loud, clear and slowly then you'll find it much easier to say words and be able to say a entire comment or sentence without stuttering.
If your hesitant on what your about to say and try to rush through the words and sentences, it's going to be difficult for you to take deep breaths throughout your speech. This will lead you back into the trap of stuttering at the beginning of words as your not speaking slowly or clear enough to say the words smoothly. This technique does require some practice as sometimes you can forget to speak slowly as you may still be focused on rushing through a sentence. But once your mind becomes used to the idea of pronouncing words in a clear, subtle manner you won't have to think taking deep breaths every time you speak as overtime you will eventually do this naturally.
So for this technique I encourage you to start speaking loud, clear and slowly so you can project your voice in a conversation and be able to speak clearly by slowing down your speech. Even if you slow down your speech x10 less than you would normally do, it will be better to pronounce all your words without stuttering than suppose to rushing through words. You could even practice this technique on your own to start get used to the idea of taking your time whilst speaking, you'll definitely notice a massive difference on how easier it is to speak when you first try this out.
Technique #5: Relax
I cannot express enough through on a screen how important it is to be relaxed whenever your speaking. When your comfortable around a group of people and your having a good time such as laughing or drinking with them, do you stutter?
You most likely don't think about what your going to say and feel more confident with who you are within these enjoyable moments, as you feel relaxed and comfortable to do and say anything. This is how it should be all the time. Being relaxed is super important as you naturally become incline to speak or read without hesitation in any words your saying. You also don't overthink situations about speaking when your in a relaxed state of mind. So it's pretty much straight forward. Don't overthink, be present and at eased with yourself in different scenarios so you feel more comfortable in speaking and you'll wash any nerves or doubts that you may have that can potentially bring on the stutter.
Technique #6: Read a couple words ahead before you say it
This final technique is all about reading. Reading is the big 'No factor' to most stutterers as we all tend to avoid reading from a book or screen out loud because there is 95% chance that were going to stutter at some point. But then this brings it back to being nervous as nerves can cause the stutter to happen. Even when we try to brush off the nerves, there's always the thought in the back of your mind on how your going to pronouce and avoid words when you read out loud.
I've worked out a special technique which has helped me and other stutterers that I know, to read thoroughly out loud through long sentences and paragraphs.
If you read ahead a couple of words before your about to say it, you'll instantly read through those words smoothly and clearly. If you do this trick for every couple of words throughout an entire section of a story, presentation or article, I promise that you will be reading without hesitating on a letter or word. This isn't a technique that will begin develop overtime time as you practice, this is something you can do right now and you'll be stutter free from reading.
However, I highly encourage you to take all the techniques that have been mentioned above to put into use whilst your reading out loud. Be confident, take a deep breath before your about to read sentence and say every single word smoothly and slowly so you can be clear on the words your saying whilst reading. Also be relaxed, feel confident to say words clearly without rushing through them which can cause the stutter. If you do this technique on reading ahead a few words before you say them and apply the other techniques, you will also be a pro reader and that will have the confidence to read out loud at any given time.
Practice, practice, practice!
Now it's to time to put all the techniques into practice. Some of you will see a difference in your speech and reading over a few days if your mind gets used to them. Whereas some of you may take a couple of weeks or months to really see an improvement and that's ok!
For me it took at least six months to be stutter free when I'm having conversations or speaking in front of a group of people. But then when it came to reading it took me only a few weeks to become a confident reader. As I mentioned earlier my stutter does come back to haunt me every once in a while and that's only situations when I'm really nervous but then I fight those nerves away and remember to take a deep breath and speak clearly. So it's' going to be a different journey everyone to eliminate the stutter but I really do want you or if you know anyone that has a stutter to use these techniques that I've created as I'm super confident that they will help you become a better speaker. Practice a conversation with yourself in front of the mirror or with someone your close to. Practice reading a paragraph out loud to yourself everyday so you can get used to using technique #6 alongside all the other techniques. Practice, practice, practice is the best way forward so you can be on your way to eliminating your stutter.
Thank you so much for reading this article! If you know anyone that has a stuttering habit please share this post with them so they can be more confident with speaking and reading. Be sure to give a love heart and tip if you can and I will be posting more how to's and fun, weird articles very soon. I love you for reading and have a awesome day!
xoxo Bethany Gordon