For most people with a stutter, the fear of speaking can be paralysing. So paralysing in fact, that avoidance tactics are deployed and when they begin failing, life is avoided.
That’s no way to live your life.
The only way to succeed with a stutter is to own it. Be open about it. Tell people you have a stutter and stop trying to fake it.
People are more accepting than they’re given credit for. When you try to avoid the issue, it’s putting more pressure on your mind, leading to fear and tension building up to the point that it can make fluent speech almost impossible.
Own the stutter! It’s what you say that matters most and not how you say it.
You’ll have heard this advice numerous times and may want to dismiss it but before you close this tab, take a second and try this.
• Breathe in through your nose
• Acknowledge the scents you smell
• Take in the sounds around you
• Be present in the moment
• Take in life as a still
Are you feeling relaxed?
(Do this anytime with your eyes closed)
The more you are present with your surroundings, acknowledging what’s around you in the world, the more you can become one with yourself.
It is your alone time.
That’s what many people need, just you and your mind.
When you’re feeling relaxed move onto acknowledging your feelings, not your emotions but the sensations around your jaw muscles, your lips, tongue, cheeks, and face.
Feel how tense they are?
What tends to happen when you’re about to stutter is the facial muscles become tense. It’s that tension that makes it almost impossible for normal speech to flow.
Fluent speakers don’t pay attention to whether their facial muscles are tense or not. They just go with the flow. Words flow off the tip of their tongue without them thinking about it.
Because you’ve developed this build-up of a speaking fear, it’s subconsciously causing your facial muscles to tense up because of that fear.
It is time to let that fear go. Massage your face, loosen your facial muscles and calm your mind.
Take some time out regularly so you can be alone. Calm your mind by breathing, taking your mind to a calm place through visualisation or just find some way to stop your mind racing and becoming paralysed with fear.
Take judgement out the equation by practicing alone.
Practice with your most difficult words
For some people, it’s any words beginning with a T, K or S. For others it’s not so much the letters, but instead certain words. Like the most obvious word you should be able to say easily…your name.
Can you say your name without stuttering?
Many can’t and that’s the most fear inducing word of them all. The one that isn’t in the dictionary but you have to say in all types of situations when you introduce yourself.
Take your most feared words and practice them when your mind is calm. The aim of your rehearsals is to face your fears through practice so that you can build up to the ultimate exercise in conquering fear. Saying your most feared words to real people. Be it at a job interview, on the telephone, or in a restaurant.
Face your fears by practicing alone with a calm mind. Progress to practicing with a friend, and then do it in public. Conquering the fear of speech is the best way to reduce the tension you feel when you’re speaking or even just thinking about speaking.
There is no quick fix, but there’s a lot to be said about confidence. What you’re ultimately doing to control your speech is to own your stutter.
Own your words, and if you do stutter – so what?
It’s not that big of a deal, certainly in comparison to what some other people in the world have to cope with.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your self-esteem is to get a stutter buddy. It doesn’t matter if the other person stutters or speaks with fluency. It only matters that you can trust them not to be judgemental and that you can use them as a sounding board; a sounding board to help build your confidence and to help reduce your overall anxiety.