For those of us who stammer there are times when the words just won't come out. Those situations when we feel we have been put on the spot and we know we won't be able to speak because the stammering monster has got us by the throat and won't let go until he has humiliated us. If you often feel like this then isn't it time you faced your stammering monster?
Why do you keep feeding the stammering monster?
The stammering monster is crafty he wants you to fight him because he knows he'll win. He's big and strong and thrives on taking away your power. Just like all bullies though, the he is fundamentally flawed. He has a weakness - he is secretly terrified that one day you will find out the truth the stammering monster is a figment of your imagination, he exists only in your head.
The stammering monster is made 100% from fear and all the frustrations and shame and anger connected to that fear. He needs to be fed fear to live so why keep feeding him? Maybe you feel powerless and the mountain is too big to climb. Maybe you feel like you are adrift in a little boat in an ocean without any oars when it comes to speaking. You can't climb that mountain in one stride but you can begin to take your power back by not feeding your monster and you can begin right now.
How do I shrink the stammering monster?
Realising that you created him is important. You must decide whether you want to keep him or not. If you are ready to shrink him then accept him. What we resist persists so don't fight him any more say 'OK, I stammer and I'm doing something positive right now'. This is our starting place, look forward not back, you've taken the first step so, what's next?
We need some powerful fear-busting magic, and here it is...
Fear-busting potion number one - Costal (Diaphragmatic) Breathing
The costal diaphragm is the largest part of the diaphragm (most people use the crural diaphragm when they speak). Using the costal diapragm, we can take in a quick, deep breath then speak. Combined with a deeper tone of voice costal breathing allows the speaker to sound more assertive. The stammering monster will try and get you to speak from the throat area with a higher pitch - this is where the struggle to speak takes place. Keep it nice and deep, even when you feel speaking stress.
Fear-busting potion number two - Speak when you're ready
When you've mastered costal breathing and speaking using a deeper tone you will feel far more confident and relaxed in the knowledge that when you open your mouth the words will come out. The stammering monster won't like this and will try to make you speak when you're not ready to. Don't let yourself be bullied, hold your ground and speak when you're ready. Your listener won't mind, in fact they would rather wait a few seconds for you to speak confidently than wait up to a minute or so while you stammer out of control by trying to speak too quickly.
Something else the stammering monster hates is 'the pause'. If you pause when you speak you will sound more elegant and in control and you certainly won't feed the stammering monster, he will want you to say everything all at once and quickly and he'll try and make you afraid that if you stop you won't be able to start again.
Fear-busting potion number three - Voluntary stammering
Yes you read that correctly, stammer on purpose but with one huge difference, voluntarily. You're in control and not the stammering monster. You use the tools in potions one and two and look for speaking situations. You stammer on purpose using costal breathing, deep tone, pausing, speaking when you're ready and your new found confidence. This really shrinks the stammering monster because he thinks he's going to be fed. He thinks you're stammering out of control again not practicing fear reduction. Once you've used this method a few times and revert back to more fluent speaking you will sound much more fluent and have a lot less fear.
Isn't it about time you shrank your stammering monster?
John Blosse is an AMT qualified Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Master Practitioner, Matrix Reimprinting and Emotrance (Emotional Transformation) Therapist and Confidence Coach. He is a recovering stammerer.
John runs a successful practice and stammering support group in Brighton and Hove, UK and offers one to one sessions to clients from all over the world via Skype and the phone.