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5/06/2018 2:47 am  #1

Learning how to speak cogently

Short story, as a child I suffered from bad social anxiety. I went to years of therapy and I now can socialize fairly well with people--with the occasional bout of social anxiety but nothing beyond what an ordinary person would experience. A hang over from my social anxiety is my inability to sound cogent when I speak. My language is often riddled with "ah," "um," "like," and I often have a hard time finding the right words to properly express what I have in mind.

I've recently tried reading out loud some of the philosophy texts I'm currently going over. I'm horrible at reading out loud, suffering from the occasional stutter and a monotone rhythm. I'm hoping this will help to improve my ability to speak more clearly. Perhaps reading fiction will help even more considering a lot of it is written in a conversational style.

I know this is a strange topic to bring up on a philosophy forum,however, does anyone here have any tips on how I can further improve my speaking skills?


5/06/2018 7:12 am  #2

Re: Learning how to speak cogently

Why not simply think about what you're going to say before speaking it?
You mentally formulate an exact phrase, then you say it word for word.

Also, one great thing to be better in everything wich concerns "oral matters", I recommand theater.


5/06/2018 9:35 am  #3

Re: Learning how to speak cogently

I have a similar problem. Not really sure what advice to give other than practice, but it's difficult to be deliberate about how one speaks. Reading texts aloud isn't a bad idea to practice enunciating. Try to speak more slowly and avoid the filler words. (Everyone uses these from time to time. I know someone who, when he speaks in public, frequently pauses; he is evidently suppressing the urge to add filler words.)

​But really to practice you need to find people to talk to, ideally on topics that require some thought.

​I find that one problem with discussing philosophy online is that one's replies can be far more premeditated and polished. I think I've gotten too used to that in the past. There's no substitute for face-to-face philosophical conversation.


5/06/2018 11:44 am  #4

Re: Learning how to speak cogently

Ouros, that's a good suggestion. One of my issues with it is how awkward it can be and can usual kill the flow of the conversation when you have to take several seconds to yourself. I've noticed, watching some of his lectures, Jordan Peterson will take an awkward ten second pause before formulating his thoughts on a topic. Not sure how well that would go in a conversation format.

Greg, that's definitely an issue for me. I write much better than I speak. It's very frustrating. It's as if I have well formulated thoughts, my writing being a testament  to that, I just can't vocalize them.

     Thread Starter

5/06/2018 6:22 pm  #5

Re: Learning how to speak cogently

Speak more slowly, and practice in front of a mirror. So read the first section of article, stop, look in front of a mirror and give a summary. Notice when you are stalling and about to say umm or uhh, and just pause instead. You don't need to be fast, and flashy--slow and steady can be good.

Also, if you get nervous in front of people, you might try out Toastmasters or something where you can practice this.


5/07/2018 1:03 am  #6

Re: Learning how to speak cogently

From your typing your social anxiety is not obvious at all. This should indicate that you have full potential to achieve the same fluency in speech.

Note that those who come across as confident performers (actors, singers, politicians) are often enough afflicted with anxieties themselves. That which comes across as confidence to others is actually a victory over an internal conflict.

It's a matter of practice. Take as many opportunities to engage in public speeches and discussions as you can muster. Practise the speeches and presentations in front of a mirror, record the actual event, if possible, and study it afterwards. It's going to be fine.


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