Ways to Practice your New Skills

Written by: Julie Cohn / Treatment / September 2019

So, you’ve spent time and money addressing your speech, language, or voice goals.  Now what?  How do you ensure dedicated practice time?  Perhaps you’ve reduced your stutter and want to practice your smooth speech strategies. Perhaps you’ve learned all of the new sounds to modify your accent but you still find yourself slipping into your original accent in conversation.  

Perhaps you’ve learned how to conquer your fear of public speaking, but you need more practice opportunities.  Perhaps the sound or loudness of your new voice still needs practice.   Perhaps you’re looking for places to put those new social skills to work!  Here are some ideas for places you can try your new goals, regardless of what area of difficulty you addressed in therapy:

1)    Improv classes – Classes for absolute beginners are fun and low-pressure

  • Toronto’s main improvisation schools are: Bad Dog (on Bloor West), The Social Capital (on the Danforth), and Second City (in the Business District)

2)    Conversation classes – Most English language schools offer classes where you can speak freely and still get feedback from an instructor

3)    Conversation groups – Most English language schools also have practice times when teachers are not around for feedback but you can put your skills into practice with those who are also learning

4)    Meet ups – Check out the MeetUp app to find social groups 

5)    Toastmaster’s – Check out the website and input your postal code to find many locations throughout the city where you can watch people give short speeches and try your own as well

6)    Sports Leagues and Clubs – Any social group can also be used for language practice!

7)    Classes – Take a class like a guided paint night or pottery class

8)    Phone a friend – Call up an old friend and surprise them with your new skills

9)    Take a family member to dinner

10)  In transit – Strike up a conversation with a friendly co-commuter

11)  Volunteer – Choose an organization that interests you and spend some time giving back while you practice

12)  Go to the library or a store – Make conversation about books with the employees

13)  Check out your local community centre – They have lots to offer in terms of programming

The Well Said Team of Speech-Language Pathologists

14)    Join a social group on facebook – Search for a hobby and join a “Toronto (whatever topic) Enthusiast’s” group (this is especially helpful for practicing written communication if that is one of your goals)

15)    Join a poetry or movie appreciation group – See the show and discuss afterward

16)    Audit or take a class at U of T, Ryerson, York University, George Brown College, or etc.  Choose a class that emphasizes group work and/or presentations

17)    The water cooler – Strike up a conversation with colleagues or invite them to lunch

18)    Ask your manager if you can start a social group at work – arrange for optional outings in the evenings or on weekends

19)    Attend a street festival – Talk to the vendors; they will be happy to talk to you!

20)    If you are religious, attend your place of worship – See if they have any social clubs for you to join or if you can help out 

21)    Get to know your neighbours – Knock on doors and introduce yourself

22)   Spend time at a nearby park or dog park – If you have pets, this will be an easy topic of discussion 

23)  Start or join a carpool, try Uber pool, offer to help a friend run some errands if you have a car or truck

24) If you have kids, strike up a conversation with your child’s friends’ parents, attend parent-teacher night, or join other school social events in the evenings or one weekends  

25)  Take a course or ask to attend a conference – Whether or not you speak or run a booth, you can use the time to network and be social

26)  Listen to audiobooks, tv shows, movies, podcasts, or books on youtube – Listening can be good reminders of your target sounds – just make sure the reader has the same accent or vocal style you’re going for in your own speech

Practicing can happen in a variety of ways – the more diverse you make your practice, the better.  Feel free to use any and all of these strategies as you generalize your goals, and keep up the good work!

To speak with one of the speech-language pathologists at Well Said: Toronto Speech Therapy, schedule an initial consultation by clicking the link below or calling (647) 795-5277.