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Overcoming Stammers During Public Speaking

Public Speaking

Whether you suffer from a clinical stammer, or only suffer from a stammer in certain situations, there’s no denying how nerve wrecking public speaking can be. Stammers can cause sufferers to speak with involuntary pauses and repeat the initial letters of words.

Those who suffer with a stammer are often dissuaded from public speaking. Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken to ensure that your public speaking debut is a successful one.

Visualise Positivity

Is it really this simple? Well, in many instances it is. Remember, how we act is normally a state of mind. For example, we’re not going to be the life and soul of the party if we’ve had a bad day. The same can be said about feeling something is going to go wrong before it does. Having this state of mind is likely to be more of a hindrance than it is a benefit.

Many find that focusing on something that oozes positivity not only gets them through public speaking, but it ensures that their talk is a success. Many think of their spouse, while others carry pictures of their children. Thinking positive will have a positive impact on your manner, which in turn will instil confidence as you talk.

Become Familiar with Your Venue

Have you ever felt more at ease with an environment you are completely familiar with to that of somewhere new? If so, you’re not the only one. Many people become nervous because they are visiting pastures new, and as such will not be familiar with their surroundings. These feelings of anxiety normally diminish as you become more confident with public speaking, but in the meantime, there is an easy way to become more familiar with your surroundings.

You may have to give a best man speech, or deliver a presentation at work. Either way, it is likely that each event will have a set location. Find out the location, which will normally be provided anyway, and take a solo visit before the event. Although you may not be able to become one hundred percent familiar with the location, it will help you feel more at ease when it comes to delivering your speech or presentation.

Make Time for Rehearsal

How many times have you cast something aside because it seems a lifetime away? If it happens a lot, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Many of us are really organised and know when an event is coming up and where it will be held. However, there are just as many of us who always have an increasing ‘to-do’ list when it comes to managing our affairs.

Rehearsing for a speech or presentation can be far from exciting, and as such are often put off to a more convenient time, which very rarely arises. Not knowing the contents of your speech or presentation is only going to add to the pressure that you no doubt already feel. Become self-disciplined and schedule in times for rehearsal. Thinking of little rewards can be a great way to stick to your schedule.

Don’t Let Worry Hinder Your Slumber

A restless mind means many of us suffer a great deal with insomnia. Public speaking can set worry off with anyone, which means our minds are always active. Not getting the correct amount of rest only hinders our ability to perform a multitude of tasks, public speaking being one of them.

While there is no magic wand that can wave away the worry you may feel, you can ensure that you give yourself a time in the day where anything related to public speaking is kept for the following day. Using a tactic such as this means that you will not only benefit from a great night’s sleep, but you will also have time to unwind and relax before going to bed.

Remember to Breath

This tip may make a few of you nonplussed, I mean, why wouldn’t you remember to breath? While breathing is an automatic occurrence we partake in daily, we can find ourselves short of breath, especially in stressful situations.

The time just before you make your public speaking debut can be the most stressful, with your mind focused on remembering your words. Becoming flustered makes our heartbeat rise, which in turn changes our breathing pattern.

Before going on stage, focus on the pace of your breathing. If you feel your breathing is faster than it should be, then take some deep breaths and take control of your breathing. A spike in your heartbeat can lead you to speak too fast, or not at all. Controlling your breathing will ensure the words come out naturally.

Do Not Rush

Due to the stressful nature of public speaking, it’s understandable that many of us want it out of the way as soon as possible. This trail of thought can lead us to rush through the speech or presentation at breakneck speed so it ends sooner rather than later. This can cause your audience to miss some, or all, of what you have to say.

A tactic to avoid situations such as this is to set a rhythm in the way you walk. A slow steady walk across the stage will tie in with the way you are talking. You will find that your relaxed demeanour will come across in the way you speak, meaning your speech or presentation is met with applaud rather than confusion.

Consider a Speech Clinic

While the above tips are a great way of shaking the shackles a stammer can place on someone, some may prefer a more long-term solution. This is where speech clinics come in.

Our Speech and Language Therapists are very aware how difficult it is to live with a stammer and how hard it can be to even go to a clinic and talk to a professional about it. We know that stammering can be very debilitating and can really affect the choices a person makes in their life. Through support, listening, counselling and working together to challenge some of the stammering associated anxieties, it is possible to make a change and liberate yourself from the fears that may have held you back.

We will assess, diagnose and provide treatment for stammering. All of Spectrum Health’s Paediatric Speech and Language therapists are qualified from University with a B.Sc. or M.sc (Hons) in Speech and Language Therapy and have ample experience working with adults who stammer.