Staccato speech – trying to create a meaningful flow

Note that I am not talking about the medical definition of staccato speech here.

Staccato speech is where you speak in fragments of sentences that are punctuated by pauses, which interrupt, to the point of destroying the flow of your speech. Such speech is abrupt, broken, and usually quite hard to follow for long periods of time, and may make the speaker look confused or focused on something else. This can range in severity and causes. It can be psychological, medical, or habitual.

Habitual staccato speech is becoming a slightly more common occurrence, figures would suggest, and is more present in the younger generation; many teenagers speak like this during puberty, and it usually disappears over time. Other’s speak like this to an extent, or on occasion, and aren’t really bothered by it.

Sometimes this can be because of nervousness. If this is you, you may feel the need to speed up or weave all your words together, and this probably makes it worse. When speaking, if you stop in the middle of speech by accident, you can use it to your advantage; maintain eye contact, nod, and you’ll probably appear to either be thinking or pausing deliberately. Even if the pause is a long one, if it appears deliberate it can empower and hold people’s attention. Obviously don’t do this on purpose, but consider it.

You should take your time, try and speak at a regular rate, and never be afraid to speak because you might speak in staccato; the voice is like a muscle. Its power will diminish if you don’t use it.

Voice coaches would normally recommend breathing exercises to combat staccato speech as breathing through a sentence can really help the speaker to gain flow.

With this, try and identify what exactly it is that makes you staccato. Voice exercises and practicing talking in fluid sentences make a good start. If you really struggle, you may want to see a speech therapist for voice coaching

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