I've learned that most of the time, i'm at a loss for words, coversationally speaking, and may come across as unintelligent because my wording just isn't there. It's embarrasing. And it's caused me from being a social person. I also find myself sabotaging relationships with people because of this speaking problem I have. What am I lacking? I mean, I would talk to anyone. Im not that shy. I read alot. I've studied grammar privately. I've taken classes on public speaking, grammar and critical thinking. I use vocabulary books and dictionaries everytime I need them. I've also read books on comprehension, critical thinking, reasoning and listening effectively and I still dont think I speak effectively. I can enunciate a word well and can even imitate public speaking figures or TV/Movie personalities quite well. I'm not delusional because i've recorded myself and i notice that i fumble alot or stop to think for a sec about the next word or the idea as a whole i'm trying to convey. It's as if I cannot make my words flow. I've noticed how people can just flow with words as if were born to speak. Like news anchors speak marvelously, I think. I would love to speak as a news anchor does. How do they do it, I wonder. It's all i think about, speaking clearly. What's wrong? Do i have a mental problem perhaps?
It seems from your description that you are an average speaker like me. Is there a [url="http://www.toastmasters.org /"]TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL[/url] in your city? I found them to be very helpful.
Looking for ESL work?: Try our EFL / TOEFL / ESL Jobs Section!
I find practising helps. I used to do this also: say something once, and if I don't think it passes my clarity standards, I'll rephrase it. Eventually, I'm doing less rephrasing.
Hope that helps.
A bit about me. I am from Europe, but moved to Canada almost 11 years ago, I was 12 at the time. I think what could be the cause of my situation, is that I was not a social person, really shy, stayed at home, no friends, speaking native language at home. This lasted for quite a while. When I entered highschool, a major problem arised, making me even more antisocial. The issue of blushing for no reason. Heck, I'd blush if someone so much as looked in my direction, called someone other than me, but was standing behind or close by, ANY attention what so ever of my existence made me light up like a christmas tree. This lasted almost completely through highschool. So I didn't have any real friends, only a few aquaintances. Now I may still have a blush come on, but that is very rare, although sometimes it still suprises me for no reason. The way I got over this one is by ignoring it. Trust me, ignoring it is the last thing I wanted to do, I wanted with all my strength to not blush, which of course caused an even worse situation. However this issue aside, now it is the language fluency. I have worked hard to overcome the "blushing" obsticle, thinking that now I can finally be without worry. To an extent that is true.
The speaking obsticle raised its ugly head. The reason this is confusing to me, is because this happens about 50% of the time. I have the same trouble as the above posts described. I know a lot of info, hold several degrees and licenses, and usually I'm percieved as a smart person, then the speaking issue comes into play, and I look like a fool. To day, I have pinpointed the problem: I have a difficulty expressing my thoughts clearly, if speaking fast. I'll fumble when say something quickly. I'm still understood, but people are distancing themselves from me, because of this. This is clear as night and day. On the days when the "other 50% " is taking charge, I speak clearly, fast, and usually Im in the middle of the conversation with the others, and I feel one of them. On the days when I'm not clear and fast, people tend to exclude me, even if sub-consciously.
I have tried to figure out what causes me to be 100% one day, and only 50% the other. No serious luck so far, other than I find that If I am in an exciting state, as in after accomplishing something big, like closing a real estate transaction (im in real estate) or something equally great, I tend to be in the 100% type day. But If I'm tired the opposite is true.
Anyone have any tips, on how to improve?
I'd greatly appreciate it. Feel free to email me <email address removed by mod.>Email Removed">
It is important to realise that neither problem is actually very important objectively, except perhaps causing some irritation and distraction to others present who find it difficult to understand your behaviour, but it takes on great seriousness in the eyes of the sufferer and can cause considerable self-loathing and even despair. I believe that both problems are symptoms of an abnormally heightened conciousness of one's self (which in itself is an attribute of intelligence, thoughtfulness and sensitivity). If you try harder to overcome these problems the result is a vicious circle of heightened self-conciousness. I agree with Grrrrrr that the solution to blushing is to ignore it, but that can be impossibly difficult. I have found that speaking to a group of people is actually easier than talking one-on-one, especially if you are being asked questions and forced to think of the answer under pressure, rather than concentrating on the words themselves. The reason for this is that the concentration required for this, takes your attention away from yourself. In a more relaxed environment, you can suddenly find yourself drawing attention to yourself, blushing and/or finding it difficult to express youself naturally.
This un-controllable behaviour is a form of self-punishment, leading to feelings of guilt and self-pity, which in turn reinforces the reaction next time it is triggered. I have discovered that it is no good trying to understand why or what might be causing the problem (which may not be anything significant), but I can say how I cured it, or at least got it reduced to a level not noticed by other people. You need the help of someone you entirely trust and who trusts you, in my case my partner. First admit you have a problem, and explain all your feelings honestly. This is probably the most difficult and painful step.
Once your partner understands the problem (if not already too well aware), you need to establish a daily or weekly routine roughly along the following lines. Probably unlike your previous attempts at a cure, the aim is not to tackle the problem itself directly, but rather the effects which it produces, mainly irrational guilt and self-pity. My partner agreed to note the offending behaviour, but ignore it. However, at regular intervals my partner would ask me to go over my feelings of every incident of self-conciousness I had suffered since last time, adding any additional observations if I "forgot". This was quite painful at first, and my partner would mercilessly reprimand me. This has to be done quite severely without any sympathy, because it is essential to avoid any expression of pity which will lead to that most negative of emotions, self-pity. My partner would terminate the quite unpleasant chastisement with an admonishment that I stop this undesirable behaviour followed by a sharp slap which closed the matter symbolically, cleared my feelings of guilt, stopped all further discussion, and allowed us both to put the confrontation behind us without any brooding or rancour. We would resume normal relations with a clean slate until the next session.
These sessions were quite tiring and mentally painful at the time, even more so for my partner who had to force an unsympathetic coldness and lack of pity which did not come naturally. But in a matter of days I found a noticeable improvement in my feelings about myself, and after a few weeks the problem of self-conciousness gradually receded from my thoughts, and the "treatment" was needed less and less, eventually stopping altogether.
In reality, the exercise that was described is a means to changing the associations one has to speaking out loud. I won't go to into the whole idea of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), but just want to state that it deals with anchors that "fire" off, which are connected by repitition and strong emotions to begin with. Point being, if you feel anxious when speaking out loud a few times, what will happen is that whenever you begin to speak out loud, you will automatically begin to feel anxious. The exercise described is a way of changing this, for as you are speaking, you are changing the feelings you are feeling at the time, and thereby creating a new association to speaking out loud.
For me, I had not put this together, that speaking out loud could just be a negative association, instead of a need to learn more or practice speaking more (although of course these too would help). I think quite possibly that if you can change your association to speaking out loud, you may have much more success in conquering this problem.
I'm also fascinated because most posts here seem to be very intelligent. I've always been able to express myself very eloquently on paper, but have a more difficult time when speaking orally. I'm curious to know if this is just a conditioned response in some people, who were teased or ridiculed at some point earlier in their lives, when they spoke out orally.
People are waiting to help.
Related forum topics: