When I hear "stuttering tips" I expect some advice that comes and goes. Sort of "let's talk about stuttering" once again.
We do want to talk about stuttering, sure. But I'd love to give you my top 7 tips that can guide you all the way to freedom from stuttering.
That far? Yeah, that far.
So, here they are.
The most annoying and embarrassing thing is to hear this: "Come on. Relax. Slow down." Yeah, this person for sure wants to help me. But that person doesn't understand what's going on inside me.
When stuttering comes I can't relax. That's the whole point.
We see stuttering as a highly automated tension. And a lot of shame and negative emotions go along with that creating emotional field that becomes part of that automated tension. That emotional background by itself launches that automated tension, so we get into that state every time we face a speaking situation.
We want to start unlocking that tension field, tension state and emotional tension as well, so we want to start with a seed of relaxation which potentially in the future will be associated with our speaking.
That’s the balloon exercise actually, so you imagine you’re a balloon, you get a bit tense and just deflate. Inside the Improve Program, we created different exercises that work pretty much the same.
Again, that's just a seed we want to grow to start unlocking that tension state. Any kind of meditation, relaxation can go with that - awesome, but if you have just one minute in the morning and one minute in the evening before you go to sleep - just do the balloon excise, just feel that you can say what you want to say in a relaxing way.
There are many stuttering techniques, stuttering tricks that can help you get through speech impediments. You feel great and you even get fluent in certain situations. I made it, wow! But most of the time stuttering then comes back.
Or it's relevant for mild stutterers: you're fluent most of the time but you know that at some point you might stutter. And that feeling, that fear is so debilitating, it just doesn't let us think about anything.
So you need a foundation to make sure that you relax not only in the morning or evening. You want to make sure that you can, you're able to relax in every real-life setting.
So, I'm preaching about the hand stuttering technique which gives us very physical support and foundation for our speaking. Basically, we extract our sounds using our fingers, putting stresses where we need to put stresses and just drawing the picture of our speaking.
The point is that we learn to relax in the beginning and in the stresses. The first sound and every stress in that speaking piece I'm saying become injections of relaxation.
If you're a mild stutterer, it's a great thing to do. If you're a more severe one, then it's just a must.
Speaking is breathing out air. When we stutter we're speaking in a very shallow voice. And it becomes a circle. Our shallow breathing, broken breathing facilities stuttering. Stuttering causes even more broken breathing and it just goes on.
Any kind of breathing exercises that develop your belly breathing, that develop the diaphragm muscles, again is a must for severe stutterers and is a great thing to do for mild stutterers.
But it's hard to see the result. Okay, I'll do 10 times belly breathing so what? Will I see an instant impact on my stuttering? No, probably not. There is no direct link, no direct result we can see out if it.
Singing opened up for me those breathing things and breathing exercises because now I clearly can see the direct result. I feel the fatigue in the diaphragm and I feel how I sing. To sing properly you have to utilize the diaphragm muscles. You do the belly breathing exercises at the same time as you sing.
So, take singing classes. If you can't afford it or you don't have time, browse the internet or YouTube for singing exercises and just do some. Again, 1-2 minutes every day; this is the best way to develop your diaphragm muscles and to feel the support of your voice.
We look for a trick that would save us. Tomorrow I have to give my oral answer in the class so I'll pull my technique out of the pocket and use it.
No way. Doesn't work this way.
Don't wait for it to come. Go for it.
Getting free from stuttering is going from one kind of confidence to the other kind of confidence.
Right now we're 100% confident that I will stutter, so we go from this confidence that I will stutter at some point to the opposite confidence that I can say what I want to say in a relaxing way. That means in a confident way without speech impediments.
And all that way to freedom from stuttering is all about growing that confidence.
Growing all the way from a seed to a graceful tree with strong roots. The only way to do it is to be active. Start small and move step by step.
So, we're growing our confidence and want to be active. Great!
But you can't be active unless you're open. You need to be open to be active. It's just a rule, like a law of physics.
Every time you introduce yourself, every time you face a speaking setting, there is one of three approaches or mindset you might have.
The first one is trying to be normal. Trying to hide your stuttering and your improvement efforts, your new speaking technique, your new speaking skill.
The second one is to say openly, "I stutter."
The third one is the attitude of being open about stuttering and about my improvement efforts. I'm totally fine if you guys know that I stutter and try to improve. I'm trying to enjoy my speaking so I really want, I need more speaking because I'm practicing my new speaking skill. I need more practice.
So we all think like okay, I need that technique to use it, I want to use it somehow secretly so that no one understands that I stutter, no one understands that I'm using any technique, I just want to be normal.
No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try you will get derailed.
You will learn something in the classroom then you get to the real-life and you mess up, you get derailed.
It’s a very important personal development skill to come back to the confidence zone.
Okay, we get back to the very, very beginning, we do the balloon exercise, we say "book," we say "I can see you." We get to that classroom where we can say anything in a relaxing way. And then we start expanding our land using our hand technique. Again.
It's important to understand that we all have what I call "fixed environments." For people who work it's the workplace, for students, it's the place of study. For some people, it's not a supportive family and relatives. For some, it's a circle of our mates or so-called "friends."
We've had many negative experiences here. We hold tons of muscle and emotional memory that "knows" how to respond to these environments. With stutter.
We bear psychological pressure in these environments that tells us that we need to perform in our best way possible. And for us, that means without stuttering. We want to be fast, we want to hide it, we want to try to be normal. And if we try to be normal, we cannot use our new speaking skill, we cannot relax, we cannot inject that relaxation into our speaking.
To get to these "fixed" environments we want to start small. 2-minute practice at home, speaking in the video calls, real-life phone calls from the video calls, asking staff in the supermarket, "Excuse me, where can I find coffee here?" More speaking in the video calls, then making a public speaking, a debate.
So, we need to go step by step, creating smaller speaking situations, speaking wins and positive experiences that lead us gradually step by step to that next level.
When we have sex, we communicate.
When we meet with a friend, with a colleague, with anybody we get in a certain field, common field and we communicate and that's amazing. That's just a mystery, we start to exchange energy, we become one in a way.
We do want to enjoy that precious moment, not thinking about our stuttering, not being in that fear, but being really present, listening, asking, and leading a conversation.
Even if you stutter try to enjoy that connection.
And of course, if you want to enjoy it even more, look into the previous steps, learn to relax as you speak, your speaking should be relaxing, put that relaxation on a foundation, increase the capacity of what's possible for you with breathing exercises, singing exercises, don't hold it back, be active, be open about your improvement efforts, use that connection, that communication to build up your new confidence.
And again, never give up.