Saying Your Name: 4 Ways to Reduce Stutters
People who stutter often face difficulties in saying their name. Here are 4 methods you can follow to say your name more fluently and confidently.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar once said, “If I’m gonna tell a real story, I’m gonna start it with my name.” Today, his name is synonymous with fame and success.
There was, however, a time when he struggled to say his name. A majority of the people who stutter (PWS) have difficulties in pronouncing their name.
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There are understandable reasons for this.
Firstly, we are anxious about “first impressions.” In an attempt to not stutter in front of new people, we find ourselves under mental pressure.
Secondly, the human brain tends to remember negative experiences more than the positive ones. The antipathetic reactions we have received in the past come back to us when we try to introduce ourselves to a new audience.
Lastly, we can’t run away from our name. In the case of other feared words, we can avoid or replace them. It is no surprise that some PWS use a different, easier-to-pronounce name while speaking with strangers.
With some exercises and dedication, we can reduce stuttering while saying our names.
1. Program Your Mind — Understand the Power of Your Name
“Words have meaning and names have power.”
When we avoid saying our name, we create a small dent on our self-esteem each time. Names hold power and it’s time to understand and accept that fact.
The first step in this process is to acknowledge our stutter. Instead of hiding, we must admit that we have difficulties in saying our name.
Once we do that, the next step is to realize our worth. We say to ourselves “even if we struggle to say our name, we will say it and not run away from it.”
The next logical question is — Why should we say it? We will say it because we are worthy of people’s time and attention. We might require more time and attention on the listener’s part, but we deserve it.
2. Use the “Easy Onset” Method to Say Your Name
In this method, we first need to reduce the tension in our articulators. We start our speech with relaxed muscles and slowly stretch out the vowel sound each word begins with.
The easy onset method is particularly effective for words starting with vowels, which may include names like Anne, Elliot, Adam, Emily, and so on.
The idea is to avoid a hard attack. Instead, we should relax and release air as we begin to speak.
We start at a slow speed. Gradually, we can increase the pace.
For example, you will say “Emily.” You may say it like — “ hhh-Emily”. With practice, you will be able to shorten the “hhh” sound. Soon, you will progress to “h-Emily” and then “Emily” with the constant practice of easy onsets.
3. Use the Light Articulatory Contact Method To Stutter Less When You Say Your Name
Words starting with /b/, /t/, /k/, /g/, /p/ and /d/ require hard movement of the tongue and lips. While saying these words, our vocal tract can be blocked and the airflow may stop. These are called plosive or occlusive sounds.
Lips, tongue, and teeth form the articulators, which we use while speaking. Light Articulatory Contact is a method in which we ensure the contact between the articulators is minimal.
We don’t press our lips or tongue with a lot of pressure, By using this method, we also keep the airflow going.
You can learn more about these methods from the video shown below:
4. Practice Enough to Get Noticeable Results
These steps won’t work unless you do the work. The key to fluency is patience, dedication, and practice.
You can, for instance, stand in front of the mirror and practice saying your name out loud.
Once you have gained confidence, the next step will be to introduce yourself to strangers.
You can join the Stamurai meetings, where you can interact with fellow PWS in a safe environment. Every such meeting is moderated by professionals with prior experience in speech-language pathology.
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Remember, Only You Can Define Yourself
The “altered way” of saying your name may sound unnatural at first. But remember, the difficulty you face while saying your name is no cause for shame. Some people might not react in an encouraging manner.
You have to remember that not everyone is aware of your speech disfluency. So, if you introduce yourself as, “Hi, I am John and I stutter.” You are more likely to see understanding and encouragement from your listeners.
Your stutter does not define you. Your determination, your incredible hard work, and your commitment will define you. Only you can define yourself.
So, block out the noise and start practicing.