Seeing Your Fluency – It’s Already There!

Would you be surprised knowing how much of your speech is fluent?

The chance is high, that the next time you speak, you’ll be fluent. There are so many factors that come into play in the moment of speaking: who you are speaking with, what you have to say, where you are speaking, why you are speaking.  But still, you could be very fluent. As a Woman Who Stutters, you likely notice when you stutter more than when you are fluent. Fluency often goes unnoticed, but your stuttering is commanding all of your attention. Your stuttering is reinforced and stays in your memory. Which means that your fluency isn’t given the attention it deserves. When you are present with your fluency, you’ll find that it is stronger and more frequent than you realize. A simple switch of focus – from stuttering to fluency – is all it takes.

Your Fluency Is Within Reach Let’s Connect To It

When you focus on fluency and acknowledge it, fluency is reinforced, becoming stronger. It makes sense that when you are paying attention to your fluency that you’ll consciously understand it. You’ll see your fluent speech in a new way. Fluency is possible and within reach. Fluent speech is natural and easy. When you are attached to this natural flow, natural speech fluency, it is the most powerful and efficient way to speak.

Fluent speech is hard wired.  You were born with it. As a Woman Who Stutters, stuttering could seem to be the stronger system.  But it’s not.

Expose Your Stutter With A Different Focus

Then Be Present In Your Fluency

When your natural fluency happens, it is critical to notice and acknowledge it.   Otherwise, stuttering takes over as your main focus. You pay attention to what keeps you safe. You’ve been conditioned to attend to negative influences. Let’s change your focus, bringing your fluency out into the open… you’ll see that it is already there.   Focus #1: Tell Your Listener that You Stutter Prepare yourself and your listener by telling them that you stutter. This could be difficult, but mentioning your stutter at the outset puts both of you at ease. When you’re at ease, you don’t have to worry about stuttering. Your listener can now engage in the conversation, rather than be distracted by your stutter. The topic of your stutter is covered, if it pops up.

Taking Action:

Telling someone that you stutter can be simple. You can say, “I want to tell you that I stutter, so you may hear that happen when I speak.” “I have a speech problem and I stutter, just for you to be aware.” “Oh, before we start, I just wanted to tell you that I stutter. I’ll need a bit of extra time.”

Noticing:

After you have explained that you stutter, notice tension and anxiety leave your whole body. Notice how present and engaged you are in the conversation. Notice your increase in fluency.

Focus #2: Increase The Volume Of Your Voice

When you fear stuttering, you may speak in a softer voice.  Then if you stutter, it could be less noticeable.But your listener will be concentrating on your words. They will notice that there is something different about how you’re speaking. By simply speaking louder, you will feel more confident.  You’ll enunciated more clearly. Women Who Stutter have found that speaking louder increases their fluency.

Taking Action:

Raise your voice and speak louder than you normally do. It may seem like you are shouting or yelling, but you aren’t. Now imagine ordering your favorite meal, with all the details, in this louder voice. Go ahead. Speak out loud.

Noticing:

When you speak louder, you are more fluent. You are more confident and secure. Your speech is smoother and articulate. Your mind is calm, focusing on the conversation.

Focus #3: Talking With Your Pet

Women Who Stutter find that fluency comes naturally when talking with a pet. Your pet isn’t going to judge you, finish your sentences, look away, interrupt you etc. Experiencing how fluent you can be in this situation can be very rewarding.

Taking Action:

When you are alone with your pet, record what you are saying. Talk about what ever you’d like e.g. how your day was; a question that you’ve wondered about; an incident that happened at work or school, etc.

Noticing:

Select and listen to a one minute segment of your recording. Count the number of words you said grouping words in bundles of 5   e.g.  ||||

    • Count the number of stuttered words using bundles of 5.
    • Calculate your percentage of fluent words (total words – stuttered words / total words = % fluent words)
    • Does this number surprise you?

Your natural fluency is really there. As you reflect on the fluent speech that you already have, your awareness becomes more tuned in to fluency. Fluent speech gives you a new perspective on how powerful communication can be for you… new insight into how your life can change.  

Linda Hurkot, MLSP, R.SLP, S-LP(C)

Linda Hurkot, MLSP, R.SLP, S-LP(C)

Communication Ambassador For Women Who Stutter