A 3-Step Super-Easy Process for Pushing Through a Stuttering Wall

How many times have you had to say something, only to find that when you attempt to utter the words, your mouth completely fails you?

It happens to the best of us; fluent speakers included.

Why does it happen?

Your mind’s essentially tripping you up. We can all think much faster than we could possibly speak. Minds race with a gazillion thoughts flowing through them at any one time. When you’re speaking, you’re forcing your mind to cancel out all the other ideas and thoughts it’s processing to exert your focus on the one thing you need to say. In effect, when you speak you’re signalling to your brain to slow down.

Meditation is probably the most effective way to calm your mind, but when you hit a brick wall and can’t push past a stuttering phrase or word, it’s hardly going to be the time to go meditate.

The fastest way to calm your mind

1) Stop

That’s the best thing you can do because otherwise, you’ll only heighten your anxiety. Stop trying to break the barrier, and take a moment to pause for reflection. The person or people you are speaking to will actually appreciate this because watching someone stutter isn’t exactly comfortable for the listener so don’t be ashamed to pause for reflection.

2) Distract your mind with a hand gesture

When you’re in the midst of a conversation and the stutter wall goes up, you’ve yourself to think about and the person you’re speaking with. You might find it helps to signal to the other person that what you’re doing is going to help you say what you’re trying to say.

A way of doing this that seems to be understood by most people is a simple hand gesture. The type of gesture you’d make to signal to someone to shut up.

Imagine your hand’s your mouth… bring your thumb to your index or middle finger and clamp them closed together to signal a mouth being closed. It’s only rude if you’re telling the other person to shut up. Not when you’re signalling that you’re going to shut up for a few seconds.

3) Inhale through your nose

How you breathe affects your focus. Mental health experts advise that when anyone is struggling with a stressful situation that they inhale through their nose and exhale through the mouth. It’s been proven to impact brain activity by positively affecting performance.


Say what you’ve got to say.

It’s a simple three step process, although like most techniques, it’s not guaranteed to work. What will though is the inhalation method you use. The important thing to remember when you hit a stuttering wall is that you pause for reflection. There’s no point struggling on as it’ll only get you into a tizzy.

• Stop trying so hard to fight it

• Engage with the person you’re speaking to using a hand gesture to buy yourself some time

• Breathe – in through the nose and out through the mouth.

It’s fascinating how the mind works, and in the cases of stuttering, usually when the wall goes up, the person affected has a tonne of stuff racing through their mind. So much so that it’s near impossible to bring your focus onto the one thing – which is to forget everything else and tell your brain you only need it to do one thing – move your mouth to say these words.

Overcoming any stuttering event will always boil down to silencing the mind of other thoughts irrelevant to what you’re trying to say.