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Speaking Eloquently

tenisghstenisghs 3618 replies337 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
edited May 2006 in College Life
I want to acknowledge something that always bothers me: class participation. I'm at the age now that I'm no longer extremely shy around my peers. I am not a dumb person because I receive excellent remarks on my papers. I'm eligible for Honors next year. However, when it comes to formulating ideas verbally, I stutter badly. Sometimes I speak in fragments because I'm always forgetting what I want to say. Sometimes, I rather not say anything at all. I don't really have this problem when I write. Do I have a speech problem?

This upsets me because I always want to participate in class and have my peers admire me. I'm not a dumb person. However, most people do not compliment me because I believe they might think I'm ****. And I don't want teachers to keep deducting points from me on class participation because I stutter and rather not speak at all.
edited May 2006
15 replies
Post edited by tenisghs on
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Replies to: Speaking Eloquently

  • psmyth000psmyth000 508 replies6 threadsRegistered User Member
    You should go to a speech therapist and ask her/him to evaluate your speech. She/He would be able to give you some pointers and to clarify your situation.
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  • yougotjohnyougotjohn 565 replies89 threadsRegistered User Member
    I had a stutter when I was younger, and I eventually grew out of it; I now do a lot of public speaking and debate. This may just be something you're going through at a time in your life due to insecurity or confidence. There are definitely therapies for this, though. You may want to talk to your parents about seeing a speech pathologist.
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  • valentinavalentina 145 replies10 threads- Junior Member
    Here's what I want to say: I totally understand you. I'm not saying that I myself am really smart, but I generally do very well on essays and tests but cannot thoroughly explain my ideas vocally.

    All throughout high school and a little into college I think both my teachers and fellow students thought I was stupid. Or on medication or pot or something. Because everything I said sounded too slow, or too spacey and awkward, or my words would run in to each other, or the way I would state things would put the wrong emphasis on certain words or I would pause in the wrong places. It was always funny getting back "A" papers from these same teachers, because they were probably surprised that I wasn't actually **** when it came to writing things, too.

    It was painful and embarassing when I messed up on presentations, or when my voice quavered (it did that a lot) or broke. But the MORE you speak and practice to yourself, the better you'll be. And I got better.

    A lot of smart people I know are poor presentation givers, or poor speakers in general. A lot of things are going on in their heads and it comes out "funny." But they're brilliant. A lot of people I know who DO speak well in public are essentially just fantastic BS-ers. They like to talk and they know how to talk, but that doesn't actually mean they're always saying something. There's a difference between having a tendency to stutter and having a tendency to blow a lot of hot air, and I'd rather be the former.

    There ARE people who are smart and well-spoken, but sometimes it really takes time and confidence-building to get there. Sometimes you need to grow up and out of things.

    You'll get there; I did.
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  • boxesarefunboxesarefun 152 replies11 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    You're probably focusing too hard on sounding smart and trying to impress your peers. Just let it go and be able to laugh at yourself when you say something stupid. This way you'll find yourself speaking more eloquently and saying things of value more often.
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  • Moose0884Moose0884 498 replies15 threadsRegistered User Member
    Are you actually formulating sentances before saying them? If so... DONT
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  • MacTech92MacTech92 730 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    This is why AIM is such a great communication tool. I used to be the same way, back in elementary and middle school. In seventh grade I started using AIM. With that I was able to see what I was about to say before I sent it. Over time, I saw the words in my head as I was thinking then, much like the words typed into AIM...hopefully you follow what I'm saying so far. By the time I was a junior in high school, the problem had been completely overcome. Gone were the "impusive speaking" days. I no longer have to worry about the wrong thing coming out.

    By using AIM as a visual aid, anyone can overcome this. Yes, you sometimes will change what you're saying in the AIM text box, but that gives you a chance to practice formulation and revision in your mind.
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  • MissSuperFantasticMissSuperFantastic 573 replies28 threadsRegistered User Member
    I have a bit of this problem, but it only happens in certain classes...that is, those classes where I'm afraid of my peers/teachers judging me; I get choked up, speak in a low, mumbly voice and a lot of times repeat things I say several times. So my first advice would be to stop worrying what other people think! It's tough, but I only became a better speaker when I stopped wondering how I would sound to other people, and just let myself go in the moment. I guess it's the same thing that you do when you swallow a pill, or jump off a cliff, or whatever. You just have to take that plunge and not look back.

    So, keep that in mind, and if you are preparing a big presentation, make sure to practice aloud /a lot/ in your dorm room or wherever. It does help. Being prepared is handy for class discussions, too. Make sure you've done the reading, and make sure you've analyzed it as well, not just sucked in the info, if you know what I mean. I.E., if it's a novel, take some time to think about the themes, the meaning between the lines, etc.

    Just so you know, kids in my classes stumble over what they say all the time, and I don't judge them for it. I don't know many people who do. Everyone knows some people are good public speakers and some aren't, and oftentimes the smartest people have the most trouble articulating their ideas verbally. Nobody is going to hold it against you if you stutter a bit when you present your ideas.

    If you find yourself having this problem in everyday speech, then you should take some of the earlier poster's advice and perhaps seek out a speech therapist to help you.
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  • tenisghstenisghs 3618 replies337 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I tend to speak before formulating thoughts. Therefore I stumble with my words. I want to be like my peers who can speak and articulate their thoughts simulatenously. This is what impresses teachers.
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  • valentinavalentina 145 replies10 threads- Junior Member
    Does the old advice: "just imagine everyone in their underwear/naked and you won't be so nervous when speaking" actually work for anyone?

    You hear that suggestion sometimes-- to put yourself in a mindset in which everyone is the same, sort of goofy, in their underwear or naked: therefore, don't be threatened or nervous-- but has it ever actually worked?
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  • MacTech92MacTech92 730 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    I must say, though, that being random is sometimes really cool. I have a friend, really sweet yet misunderstood kid, who often will say something really random without thinking about it (I don't think she ever thinks about what she says). Some people think she's really crazy, but she's actually the most intelligent person I know.

    The people who honestly care about you will look past this--I get pretty ticked off when people discriminate against my friend because she's random and whatnot. And this goes true for professors as well--a professor who really is dedicated to their job/students will accept you for who you are and give you a fair chance.

    This girl got a 4.20 or something as a high school freshman. That's pretty dang impressive if you ask me.
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  • 311Griff311Griff 1533 replies53 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There is a lot more anxiety when opening one's mouth because far too many people are really poor listeners. Good listeners try to clarify and understand who they are listening to without judging or cutting them short of chances. One thing I have learned during my time in college is that listening is the hardest skill to have in our communication skill set, and the people who actually have this skill down are the ones who will make it far in life, and those who don't are going to have to learn it, or their fabulous ability to verbalize their thoughts (ignoring what everybody else is saying as they think through their own opportunity to be "eloquent") will become rather useless!

    just trust me on this. Focus on listening, and build those skills, and watch how improved your verbal communication becomes.
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  • AllorionAllorion 351 replies4 threadsRegistered User Member
    Practice in front of a mirror. Take a famous speech (Lincoln, Churchill, etc.) and recite it smoothly throughout.

    That practice will help you be able to quickly use the correct sounds when speaking (sounds odd, but quickly articulating words is difficult for most people--casual ability doesn't catch up with quick thought and public speaking).


    Another thing you should probably do is to have a list of transitions and adjectives, which you will make yourself familiar with. Why? Well, transitions allow you to sound smooth, going from idea to idea, as well as giving an extra second to have that thought solidify. Adjectives will help prevent you from stumbling, grasping for words.


    These particular meaures are how I train public speaking and how I coached my school's debate team.
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  • kihylekihyle 302 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    i have the same problem, but i know the source of mine and it is difficult to eliminate -- some things that helped me:

    1. practice in front of mirror -- you know a discussion is coming up, formulate those thoughts and speak them out in 10 different ways -- decide on a good way and repeat it a couple of times -- when the times comes, you'll feel more confident speaking out

    2. practice some more -- there are different groups for people who get too nervous or cannot formulate thoughts well -- an acquaintance told me about attending these meetings where you're given a random topic and for 1-2 minutes you have to stand up in front of whole group and just say whatever comes to your mind

    3. speaking in front of a group i was not comfortable in was always most challenging for me -- i find myself having to get used to every person in group before i can speak freely (usually with time it happens) -- in case of teachers, if you want to demonstrate that you're smart then go talk to them one on one as a follow-up for discussion – I always performed better this way

    4. also believe me that your perception that they might dislike you because you don't express yourself well is exaggerated -- people do pay more attention to content and confidence rather how the speech was delivered -- i was sort of surprised to discover people who cannot express themselves eloquently, who speak in fragments, occupy some really well-paying and respected positions and others enjoying their company -- because once again, in the end it is not how much you stutter, it is what you say and how much confidence you demonstrate all through your stuttering – in place of fragmented sentences and stutter, people really dislike those who lack confidence

    an example of one such person is B. Sharpless, who won the Noble Prize in chemistry some years ago -- you should see the e-mails he writes and speeches he delivers -- all thoughts tied up together, a never-ending deluge of words that is hard to understand with misplaced topics and sentences that he doesn’t bother to end -- this does not prevent him from running a research group, delivering talks, receiving more prizes, consulting companies, and being on editorial boards of various journals
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  • TooyaTooya 254 replies17 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind dont matter and those who matter dont mind.

    ~Dr. Seuss

    :) But really. I use to be sooo stressed out to talk in class, then I just gave up and just spoke what I felt. I don't stress using any intelligent words, out of fear I may accidently throw them out of context, I simply shoot out ideas to a discussion. Some of the thoughts I shoot out are entirely random, and people may be thinking... wth is this kid on.... but in the end its not worth worrying that much about people judging you in this manner. But like other people have said, going to a speach councilor, or maybe even taking speach classes should they be available... that would definately be an asset.
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  • nurmanatornurmanator 136 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I tend to write down an outline of what I want to say. If it is just a casual discussion in class, I usually write down keywords from the argument and try to incorporate them in my speech. I do stutter a lot when I speak. I started learning English practically in freshman year of high school and now I'm a junior in college.
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