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Recover From Stuttering - Keep It Slow

Newsletter 66: August 2015

Using a slower speech rate away from fellow recovering stutterers and away from the clinical situation can be daunting. Most of us want to fit into our peer groups and anything that makes us stand out in a perceived negative way can sometimes lead to avoidance and poor fluency management. This is often due to cognitive issues with one of the main influences being negative self-talk.

Those who feel that a slower speech rate sounds strange and unnatural should listen to many world leaders in history and current politicians. Their speeches are more often than not, delivered slowly and thoughtfully, with wonderful inflection and strength.

Often speakers with a very fast rate are nervous and it’s certainly not an indication of confidence.

Think of how you feel when you're practising slower rates with excellent technique with other recovering stutterers.

How does your body feel?
  • Controlled?
  • Relaxed?
How do you feel?
  • A connection with others?
  • More meaningful interactions?
  • An improvement in confidence?
If you agree with these effects/benefits of using excellent slower technique with others, then cognitively reinforce your mind that slower speech will also enhance verbal interaction with others in our ‘real-world’ situations.

Relaxation is one of the main drivers. Your degree of relaxation will be generated by your willingness and your acceptance that you are going to continue to use excellent technique when engaging in real-life conversation. If you have reached this point and are having success with fluency management then cognitively, you are in the right place. Be confident with slower speech rates and believe the facts.

Slow speech rates will increase the ability for the listener to comprehend what you are saying, and this is true for both young and older adults. Slower speaking and disclosure will also deepen that person’s respect for you. A slow voice has a calming effect on a person who is feeling anxious, whereas a loud fast voice will stimulate excitement, anger or fear. Often faster speech rates are an indication that people are stressed and the use of slower managed technique can lower the rates of others participating in a conversation.

Slower rates of speech should never be boring. Some of the best speakers not only use slower speech but incorporate gestures, and especially hand movements. These are also important because they help orchestrate the language comprehension centres of your brain. Your brain needs to integrate both the sounds and body movements of the person who is speaking in order to accurately perceive the meaning. From an evolutionary perspective, speech emerged from hand gestures and they both originate from the same language area of the brain. If our words and gestures are mismatched, it will create confusion in the listener’s brain. Practise speaking in front of a mirror, consciously using your hands to “describe” the words you are speaking.

Don’t forget to use plenty of eye contact, engage the listeners and show that you have genuine interest in what they say, with eye and head movements.

Slowing down with cognitively-supported, excellent technique is a major key to great fluency management. But remember ... you can vary your speed to your comfort level. Good effective communication is an art developed over time. If you incorporate strategies like the ones suggested, it will reinforce your confidence and fluency management will benefit.

Ezy-Speech Affirmation of the Month

THERE IS TIME AND SPACE FOR EVERYTHING I CHOOSE TO SAY.

I choose to speak at a speed that I am comfortable with.

The Ezy-Speech Team




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