What does using your computer and speaking have in common? Well, for most of us non-geeks, the most blatant similarity is that we use it without having a clue of how it works. When I bought my
first computer, I remember learning what to do and then just doing it. How these letters that I am typing show up on a screen is beyond my comprehension.
The same is true for speaking. How does the thought that I want to greet this person who I am seeing this morning turn into “Good morning” or “Bon jour” or “Buenos días” or whatever, depending on the language we speak. Most people have no clue and, you know what, in both cases understanding how it works is totally unnecessary for doing it.
As we learn to use the computer and speak, our brain develops neural networks that become part of our procedural memory. And so we come to another commonality. Once we develop a procedure for both speaking and using the computer, it takes deliberate practice for us to change that wired network to do something new.
I learned to go to edit on the menu and click copy/paste. This seemed to work pretty well, but then I learned about command “c” and “v” It did the same thing much more efficiently. Knowing, however, was one thing. Doing it was another. It took me a long time before the command option became my way.
The same is true with speaking, whether it involves learning to pronounce words differently, improving grammar or changing an accent or speaking freely. For people who stutter who have to lear
n a new way of using their system, knowing what to do isn’t enough. They need a lot of deliberate practice before the new commands become their way of speaking.
One more of the many similarities is that in both cases there are times that we want a certain result. We try over and over to make it happen, but it just doesn’t work. Then someone shows us the way and what seemed so hard becomes so simple. I remember my frustration when I switched from PC to Mac. Suddenly I lost my delete button. I could only backspace. What frustration! Then someone told me about “fn – delete” Yeh, it worked!
If you are a person who stutters, the same is true for speaking.. For instance, you may be frustrated by not being able to say a certain sound. The more you try, the harder it gets. I have seen this frustration in my clients disappear as they learn that it is really simple to turn every sound into equally easy sounds to say once they learn what to do differently.
If you want to learn more about this and other aspects of speaking, click here