Learn new speech skills
Throughout my work in speech language pathology, I am often approached by individuals who express a desire to improve their speech and business communication skills. Recently, a successful and well-connected business owner shared with me his lifelong speech concerns and fears that it was too late to change. What he didn’t realize was that it’s never too late to learn new speech skills.
He is certainly not alone. Many individuals have been unsatisfied with their communication skills at some point in their lives. Perhaps a job change required a different communication style they felt ill prepared for, or a spontaneous speaking situation, such as a toast, evoked anxiety and lack of confidence. Often times, verbal and nonverbal listener feedback, perceived as negative, leaves a lasting impression.
Regardless of what caused the speaker to question his/her communication skills, the result is the same–a desire to improve.
What many people do not realize is that communication skills are an art, which can be crafted at any age or station in life. Too often I hear, “I’m too old. There’s no way I can change my speech,” and “My native language too heavily influences my ability to be understood in English,” or “I have a speech impairment or disability that will forever affect my speech communication.”
To these I say, “It’s never too late.” “You can be understood,” and “You can acquire the tools needed.”
An old dog can learn new tricks
To anyone who has questioned their communication skills and ability to change: I challenge you to believe in the brain’s power to generate new learning pathways and your ability to form new behavioral habits. Can you reach your speech and communication skills goals? That’s for you to decide.