I had this beautiful 😍 comment recently to one of my videos:
And I thought - yeah, I haven’t given you the solution! Or maybe I have?
In any case, let’s cover the stuttering solution right now! And I’ll do it real quick. Are you ready? Let’s get started!
I remember when one of my daughters had an issue with pronouncing some sound (maybe “R” sound, honestly I don’t remember) we invited a speech-language pathologist I guess and she came, they did pretty much one exercise with my daughter and maybe we did it then for some short time, but in the nutshell, it was just one day, one visit, one exercise and it was gone, solved, fixed.
So, with stuttering, we also by analogy start thinking in terms of stuttering therapy, stuttering treatment, and it brings medical flavor, like pills, medications, like “Come on, give me something! What have you got? What is the solution for stuttering? Prescribe that thing to me!”
It’s a little more complicated with stuttering but please be sure I am going to prescribe you something very specific in this video. So stay with me.
First, I want to put aside devices, apps, and medications. I have a separate video on that and I don’t want you to give your power away. It’s your speaking. It’s how you feel. The real solution, the true solution if you would, should come from you, from within.
“Ok,” you might say. “Then there should be some exercise (maybe breathing exercise, relaxation exercise or articulation exercise), or maybe technique, or some practice like reading out loud, talking to the mirror, counting to 3 before saying what I want to say…”
“Something that I should be doing, I should be practicing, where I should bring my focus.”
The answer to your question is that one exercise, one technique, or one trick that you can focus on and do every day and stop stuttering - this one thing doesn’t exist.
And you might say, “Ok, whatever. But some people overcome stuttering somehow, so there still should be something. You just maybe don’t know, Andrey, and I should be looking for it somewhere else.”
No. It doesn’t exist. Stop looking for it. Stop looking for that kind of solution. The longer you look for it the more time you lose, the more precious time of your life you waste.
Instead of just saying, “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” I want you to step back and think a little bit about the solution. Like what is it? What does the solution mean for you?
You might say, “What do you mean? I want to stop stuttering.”
Ok. What does that mean for you?
“I want to speak fluently,” you might say.
Ok. Fluently like who? What kind of fluency comes to your mind?
“Like me. You know sometimes I can say a word or phrase or even have a whole interaction fluently, and something I just get stuck, I feel like I can’t say it, I’m not quite sure what’s happening at that point.”
Ok. Here it comes.
So, what you want in reality is fixing the stuttering part of your speaking and have only the fluent part of your speaking.
“Yes,” you might say. “I guess so.”
And this is the first crucial thing I want you to see, to catch, to realize.
The fluent part of our speaking is broken. The fluent part of our speaking leads to the stuttering part. The fluent part produces the stuttering part.
You say, “I want this!” But “this” is broken.
Do you see that you’re trying to solve an equation that has no solution? The way you currently create the equation it can’t be solved.
But it’s you who creates the equation, it’s you who identifies the problem. You hold this power. So, I invite you to step back again and look at stuttering from a different perspective. I want you to be able to create an equation that actually can be solved.
Medications, devices, “give me one technique or exercise” to “have more of my fluent speaking” - these are just the ways to escape stuttering better. They are driven by fear.
Fear of stuttering. Fear of speaking. Fear that “I cannot handle it.”
They represent the invisible 90% of stuttering that we don’t like talking about. Embarrassment, shame, negative feelings, confusion, and as a result trying to escape stuttering, to avoid stuttering, to hide stuttering.
Is this the equation we can solve? Yes, indeed.
What we really want, what you really want is to feel great about yourself in the speaking interaction, to feel open, active and positive at that moment. To feel present, to feel that you truly belong here.
Is this the equation we can solve? Yes, for sure.
What you really want is to fully express yourself.
Where you develop this ability, this skill to truly express yourself. That is the solution.
“Ok,” you might say. “Whatever! Yes, I want to express myself, I want to speak with confidence and fluently. What should I do about that? You promised something, like one thing I should be focusing on.”
You got me! So, here it is. The one thing you should be focusing on. Keep a diary or journal for it. You can print out a sheet of paper every month and tick it every day.
Are you ready? Honestly, I mention it in many of my videos. Maybe it’s not going to be a big surprise.
As I always say this is the real measure of your progress. This is the real measure of your success. And only this way do you gain that confidence and fluency that you mentioned, that you’re looking for.
So, here it is.
“Oh,” you might say. “But I can’t! That’s the whole point! Give me something so that I could do it!”
There’s no one little “something” as I told you.
The speaking structure is broken so you can work on the speaking structure. There’s a lot you can do there. You can explore how you feel before the interaction, at the moment of interaction and after it happens. You feel scared before the interaction, you feel anxiety, anticipation, you feel tense in the interaction, you feel bad after it happens. The invisible 90% of stuttering. So, can we feel open, active, and positive about it? Yes, it’s a skill. You can develop this skill.
“But how?” you might ask. “What is the one thing?”
The one thing is creating speaking experiences. And fortunately or unfortunately, it combines all the elements that we want to work on. We can’t detach them, they go together. Only this way you can explore and develop your speaking structure on the one hand and your feelings on the other hand. And you can’t change the speaking structure and your feelings without creating speaking experiences.
Watching YouTube videos, with all due respect to this video, doesn’t do that. Reading out loud, talking to the mirror (all those practices that don’t involve other people) with all due respect to those practices - they don’t do that.
And you might say, “I’ve tried creating speaking experiences and I didn’t like it! I just stutter more!”
Well, it is a skill that we want to develop.
When you get on stage, when you grab the mic, when you raise your hand, when you join our speaking club - doing that proactively, intentionally is already a big win. Yet, I’m not here to tell you, “Just go and do it!”
In many ways, it’s like a cold shower. I tried many times to start taking cold showers, like going for it... and each time I got sick. It was too big of a shock. And I was in this escaping mode where you just want it to stop.
Creating speaking experiences is not about forcing yourself to do something you dread or you don’t like. Like I’ve done it 1, 2...10 times! How many more struggles do I have to take? How long should I do this stuff that I hate?
We want to do it strategically so that it’s not about stress, it’s about making it fun. So that you actually like it. Like every step of the way.
You do it 1, 2… 10 times in a way that it becomes a new habit, a new normal. You stop counting those times. Like a cold shower - you like it. Speaking interaction - you like it. You want it and creating speaking experiences becomes the game you like playing. Feeling that you create speaking experiences even when they “just happen” - that’s the habit that becomes your second nature.
If you are a person who stutters,
and you're not quite satisfied with how you feel at the moment of speaking interaction
I invite you to my free video training - 4 Steps To Freedom From Stuttering.
And for more interaction,
join the Free From Stutter Facebook group.
Please, don't stay isolated! It's crucial to feel you’re part of the community!
If you have thoughts or observations, anything that comes to your mind - let me know in the comments!
Thank you so much! See you soon!
Speech exercises for stuttering
I stutter. Do I need a speech therapist?
What causes stuttering? Two real causes of stuttering tension.