Friday, April 27, 2007

Speaking Skills

When I get nervous, like most people I stutter and stumble over words. I simply stumble more often than a lot of people.

Speaking smoothly, clearly, and properly is an essential part of succeeding in life. It's shallow, certainly, but I certainly admit that I'm also not above making quick judgments based on how someone
speaks. I definitely judge people on grammar and vocabulary. Worse, I do form opinions based on strong accents. That's human nature, but it isn't right.

I speak very well if I rehearse ahead of time and stick to a visualized script. I can even do well with an outline, but I need a crutch.

When I speak to a group, I see the words visually, as opposed to "hearing thoughts." This can cause stumbling, but usually it works to my advantage. Speaking slowly to a group is never a bad thing.

Something I plan to write about at length in another journal entry is how I won my one and only election campaign. Let's be honest and admit it wasn't because I was popular. It was probably intended as a mean joke... but things went better than people expected. When I had
to make a speech to the entire elementary school, I managed to do so without collapsing on stage.

How does someone considered "autistic" speak to a group? How can I perform "on stage" at all?

Practice, like anyone else!!!

No matter who you are, speaking skills are developed. Some people are naturally gifted speakers -- I'm not. I practice "in my head" for hours, planning every word. I also rehearse rhythm and tone, aspects that are important to other people. I think about raising and lowering my voice, using more than words to convey meaning. I also practice moving my hands in ways that seem natural. When I move my hands, I am a lot less likely to "flap and slap."

Public speaking is probably an unlikely skill for most autistic individuals. I would never, never force a person to take a speech class, but I still think such courses help everyone. My confidence has increased a lot with each speaking invitation I receive. And best of all, speaking to groups has improved my interpersonal speaking skills.

1 comment:

  1. I thought your presentation yesterday was articulate and poignant. Thank you for enlightening me and the rest of the class!

    ReplyDelete

Comments violating the policies of this blog will not be approved for posting. Language and content should be appropriate for all readers and maintain a polite tone. Thank you.