If you stutter and if you have difficulty saying your name I have four practical exercises for you. Two physical speech exercises and two mindset or mental exercises, if you wish. So, stay tuned!
I hear that sometimes people consider changing their names because they have the one that's hard to pronounce without stuttering.
If you give it a thought, there are very obvious reasons why it might be hard to say our name.
1) We can't replace it. Which means I can't avoid or escape potential stuttering on saying my name. 2) Saying our name usually means presenting ourselves to new people. Which is exactly when we don't want to stutter the most. We want to be our best at that point which creates a lot of additional pressure. 3) We might have had already those unpleasant experiences where people went, "Hey, did you forget your name?" which creates even more pressure and negative anticipation.
So, first, let's just acknowledge that. Yes, saying our name when we know we might stutter on it and when we want to be our best - it's hard. And, second, I want you to realize that overcoming stuttering begins when you say to yourself "I don't want to hide, I don't want to run away. I'm gonna stay here."
Hiding, avoiding, escaping, and holding back - that's exactly what we want to change in stuttering. That's the negative side of stuttering that we want to overcome.
All of our self-confidence and self-esteem deep inside comes down to one phrase we want to say to ourselves and truly feel:
Worthy of attention, worthy of the time people might spend waiting, worthy of trying, worthy of playing with saying your name... you are just worthy.
You don't need to "earn" that. You don't have to be perfect to be worthy. You don't have to be beautiful to be worthy. You don't have to be smart to be worthy. You can just be YOU. So, be proud of your name. I want you to feel that pride right now spreading in your body.
Let's try to feel continuous airflow in the speaking piece we're saying. I'll be playing with the phrase "My name is Steven" as "st" might be quite a hard beginning so it's a good example.
We want to feel the connections in those spots where we might interrupt the airflow.
So, let's imagine it's not "name is" but "na_me-is" where "m" becomes the beginning of "is." Let's say it a couple of times going up on "na" and falling down on "me-is." The same way let's play with "is Steven" which turns into "i_s-Steven." So we grow "i" and fall down on "s-Steven."
Then let's say the whole phrase feeling those connections. First, a bit slower and then a bit faster.
Don’t start high. Don't try to put power straight away. Trying hard means tension right from the start. Start from zero, from nothing.
The more relaxed you start the more power you can put and the nicer it sounds. I want you to play with inflections going from a very loose and relaxed state in your body, shoulders, and lips to growing a sound and falling back to a very relaxed state again.
And again, we start real slow and then get to a regular pace and even role-playing it.
Feeling the pride, playing with connections and relaxation - that's all great! But it all doesn't bring any change if it stays with you and if you don't put it into action.
So, find a camera on your laptop, your smartphone or just somewhere and record yourself.
You could say something like, "Hey everyone! My name is [_____]. Just want to wish you a great day! See you!" And post it to Free From Stutter Facebook group.
"What?" you might say. "No way!"
I can get it. That's a big challenge speaking-wise but even more worthy-wise. You want to feel that "I'm worthy" in action. You want to feel that pride in action. Be proud of your name. Be proud of yourself.
And again, again, and again you are worthy of our attention. And saying your name is worthy of your attention.
If you feel that you need more guidance on your strategy with stuttering or that you want to go deeper into how we can truly enjoy speaking interaction (and how to deal with the "hard" sounds and words) - join my free Improve Training. I’d love to see you inside!
Please share how do you feel about saying your name?
And if you want to know how other people who stutter deal with saying their names - here's a great discussion we had recently on that in the Free From Stutter Facebook group.