You’ve worked with a speech therapist on achieving your language, speech, or vocal goals – what’s next?
You might be surprised to learn that speech therapy doesn’t end once you leave your speech therapist’s office.
On the contrary, it’s important to keep practicing the techniques you’ve learned during therapy in your everyday life.
Practicing your new voice techniques is an important step in communicating with others.
Whether you’ve been doing stutter therapy, transgender voice training, accent modification speech therapy, speech therapy treatments for voice disorders, or a number of other aspects, there are many opportunities for you to talk to others and flex your new skills.
Working with your speech language therapist is the first important step to conquering your speech concern, but practicing is just as important.
Here are some approachable ways you can practice your new voice techniques and ensure your long term success.
It Takes Practice
The benefits of practicing at home shouldn’t be underestimated.
Practicing can help highlight areas you may still want to work on.
You may notice your volume, or range, is too quiet or too loud, or the accent you worked to modify slips during conversation.
Additionally, practicing your new voice techniques will help you gain confidence.
Speech therapy can give you the tools and techniques you need to overcome speech issues, such as communication deficits in adults, but a crucial step of the process is practicing with others.
Speaking with your speech therapist can be very different from communicating with people, especially strangers, in the real world.
Self confidence is a big factor when it comes to speaking, and it’s important to build yourself up through experience in order to truly overcome your speech issues.
Here are some ways you can find to practice your new skills.
1. Join A Toastmasters Group
Public speaking may seem intimidating, especially when you’ve been working on a new vocal or speech technique.
The best way to be more comfortable speaking in front of others is to practice in a comfortable, welcoming environment.
That way, you don’t have to worry struggle with speech difficulties, such as stuttering.
RELATED: What Is Stuttering And How Can A Speech Therapist Help?
Toastmasters International is a non profit organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills.
Everyone in your local Toastmasters group is working together to practice public speaking and also improve listening and interpersonal skills.
There are clubs all over the world, including several in Washington, Arlington, Alexandria, and the surrounding areas.
You can find the chapter closest to you through the Toastmasters website.
2. Join An Improv Group
The great thing about improv, or improvisational theatre, is everyone is on an equal playing field and everyone is there to experiment and have fun.
Improv is a low pressure way for you to socialize and practice speech.
Because you’re thinking on your feet, improv is an excellent techniques for developing vocal skills such as resonance and tone, or pitch.
There are many local spots where you can join a beginner’s improv class, such as the Washington Improv Theatre.
3. Join A Meetup Group
Maybe you’re looking for a social outing more geared towards your specific interests.
It can be easier and more comfortable communicating with others when you’re talking about something you love, or while doing an activity you enjoy.
Using your hobbies to help practice your speech techniques can be especially helpful for neurodivergent adults and children, such as those with autism spectrum disorder.
RELATED: Frequently Asked Questions About Autism Spectrum Disorder
Meetup is a platform where you can find groups in your community that meet up for various social events.
From hiking to game development to philosophy lovers, there really is a Meetup group for everyone.
These groups are a great way for you to practice your speech techniques in a comfortable and safe environment.
Find a group that caters to your interests on the Meetup website.
4. Join A Book Club
Book clubs are yet another low pressure way for you to engage in conversation and practice speech skills.
Typically, a book club chooses a book and meets once a week to discuss each chapter.
This is a great opportunity for you to formulate ideas and opinions, and communicate them clearly and thoughtfully.
Participating in a discussion with others about a shared experience will help you practice listening and responding.
Everyone gets time to speak when and if you so choose, which gives you space to feel confident and comfortable.
This can be especially helpful if you’re overcoming a reading impairment – there’s no greater test of your reading skills than reading a book and talking about it.
There are many book clubs for you to choose from, depending on your interests.
5. Attend A Work Conference
One of the best places to practice your voice techniques through small talk and introductions is a work conference.
There’s common ground — your field of expertise — and everyone is there to network and engage in conversation.
Usually, discussions at work conferences are brief, which gives you the opportunity to practice speaking one on one with many different people.
It can especially help if you’re at a work conference in another city – after all, if you make a fool of yourself (which in itself is unlikely!), you probably won’t see most those people again.
Practicing your speech skills while helping others is mutually beneficial and rewarding.
Try seeking out a local volunteering opportunity that interests you.
You can get to know other volunteers and give back while you practice conversing.
Plus, through volunteering you may make connections with those in your immediate community, providing long term friendships and further opportunities to practice communication.
7. Take A Class
Individuals of all ages can enroll in classes to gain new skills while practicing voice techniques.
There are many local classes for adults in various disciplines, including cooking, first aid, dancing, martial arts, and many more.
Asking questions and sharing with classmates are great opportunities for you to try out your speech skills and techniques.
8. Join A Washington Club Event
Washington Club is a non profit organization with the goal of connecting women who were born in the United States with women who have moved from another country.
This club hosts many special interest groups, from literature and cooking to sharing one’s life story with the group.
Clubs such as these are especially helpful for those undergoing accent modification speech therapy as it provides an opportunity to practice vocal techniques amongst your peers.
RELATED: Debunking The Myths About Accent Modification Speech Therapy
If you’re looking to communicate with other women who have shared experiences, the Washington Club may be the social group for you.
9. Strike Up A Conversation With A Stranger
Interacting with a new person outside of a group setting is another low pressure chance to practice speaking.
Try striking up a conversation with a stranger, whether it’s the cashier at your favorite coffee shop or someone next to you in line.
Maybe you admire their clothing, or have a comment about your surroundings.
These short talks can help you gain confidence and become more comfortable talking to people you don’t know.
If the thought of striking up a conversation with a stranger fills you with anxiety, try looking for some tips to deal with nervousness when speaking.
10. Spend More Time With Your Friends And Family
Some of the best guinea pigs for you to practice speech and language techniques with are those closest to you.
Your friends and family are particularly good conversationalists because they can give you feedback and encouragement.
If you’re living with certain speech impairments, such as cleft lip or palate or a fluency disorder, you might feel less self conscious practicing your speech techniques with those closest to you.
Book An Appointment At District Speech
If you are experiencing an issue with speech, language, or voice you would like to work on, contact us at District Speech.
We can help with a wide range of concerns that may be impeding your ability to communicate confidently.
Speech issues can go much deeper than the way you talk.
They can affect your quality of life and hold you back from achieving your goals.
At District Speech, we’ve dedicated ourselves to helping you overcome your speech issues.
Book an appointment at District Speech at our Washington DC & Arlington VA speech therapy clinic today — we can help.
Book your appointment with District Speech today.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.