NLP for Speech Problems

Filed Under (UnLearning Difficulties With NLP) on 09-01-2011

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Problems with speech were an issue that someone once approached me with.   It inspired me to think of many more people with a similar dilemma, so I share what I advised this woman.

Firstly, her words:

I often mix up my words when I’m talking (i.e. Sam and Nancy will be Nam and Sancy).  I thought that I heard one time that it is called a ‘picalepsy’ and it is a miniature seizure of the brain.  In researching on the web I can’t find anything at all like that.  Now I’m wondering if I’m crazy.  Do you have any clue about what I’m talking about?

Next, my advice:

What’s happening here is simple: you’re so excited and often impatient to tell your listeners what you want to tell them that the words come out uncontrollably fast and get mixed up in the speed, because your brain produces the words faster than you can pronounce them.  This is common and the only thing that’s crazy about this is the speed that your brain works at, which I mean as a compliment!  I’ve heard that the human brain processes information at 32 frames per second.  If you put your hand in front of your face and turn it 90 degrees in the wrist and back, that movement takes 2 frames per second.  So imagine how fast your brain works if we take the 32 frames per second as real!  But your mouth doesn’t work even half as fast, so there’ll be an inevitable time delay every time you pronounce your thoughts.  And because while you’re pronouncing one thought, your brain is already seeing three, four, or a hundred [varies with each person] thoughts ahead of the one you’re pronouncing, there’s absolutely no surprise that your words / letters get mixed up!
So what do we do to improve this?
1. Shed the attitude that “you have x“.  Labels are dangerous for your progress and personal development!  What you’ve done is common: if we don’t understand something, we seek explanation.  Most adults aren’t comfortable with not having explanations to phenomena they don’t understand, because adults like to be right and feel that they’re supposed to know. So they research the subjects on the internet.  And the research will reveal all sorts of labels.  Your label was picalepsy.  And once you found this label and saw that its explanation matched what you believed about what was happening to you, you said to yourself: “Aha!  Here’s the explanation!  Now I understand what’s going on!”.  And THIS is exactly the psychological state that puts many people into the comfort / complacency zone.  Once they find their explanation, they use it as an excuse for future inaction.  You haven’t fallen into the comfort / complacency zone, because you’ve gone further to approach me for advice. But now that I’m giving you advice, it’s up to you to implement it or just read this, leave your computer, and say “no, this doesn’t fit with what I believe”.  How you’ll react is out of my control. But if you do start improving your issue, the first step will be to shed the attitude that you have picalepsy, brain seizure, or anything else.
2. Channel your energy to observing yourself.  Start observing exactly when you mix words up and exactly what happens when you mix words up.
  • Were you too excited by the content of what you were saying?
  • Were you speaking too fast?
  • Were you breathing high in your chest?
  • Were you seeing too many images of the content of what you were saying?
  • Were you eager to say it all at once?
  • Did you feel like you lost control?
Then you can observe:
  • how you feel
  • what state you’re in when this happens
  • whether there tends to be a pattern to when you mix up words
  • whether you only mix words up when speaking to certain people
  • what influence those people have on you, how their presence affects you, e.g. are you in awe of them, in love with them, or intimidated by their authority, etc.
3. Once you start observing yourself, you’ll pick up valuable clues that’ll start telling you the story. And you’ll start connecting the dots.  Once you know yourself better, you can improve aspects and tweak things one by one.
4. Visualize the content of exactly what you want to say before your mouth pronounces it.  When you visualise the content, you’ll organize your thoughts. That will automatically slow your processing down. And that will give you more time to pronounce one thought at a time.  Then you won’t feel so rushed to tell it all at once. You’ll breathe deeper while speaking – and you won’t breathe so high in the chest [which I suspect you are doing a lot now].
5. You can engage in breathing exercises to teach yourself to breathe down in your diaphragm and then tummy.
6. Grounding will also help you.  To explain the concept of grounding read about grounding.  It’ll give you a lot of learning and answers to why this is happening to you.  You may currently be very ungrounded.  But you can learn to ground yourself – the article will tell you how – and the rest will [often] come naturally.
Contact me for any more NLP help with dealing with speech problems.

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