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Understanding speech

It can become frustrating and people often get upset when not understood. However, if you are communicating with a friend, patient or a loved one who has had a stroke and they do not understand you, it is not your fault and nor is it their fault.

To aid communication here a few tips so help you:


  • Reduce background noise and eliminate distractions when possible.
  • Face the individual when talking.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Pause between sentences.
  • Speak in shorter and grammatical simpler sentences but speak with natural intonation and loudness (you do not need to shout!).
  • Use non verbal cues to improve communication such as drawings, writing, gestures and facial expression.
  • Let the individual know if you are having difficulty understanding him/her.
  • Use a slower rate of speech with frequent pauses.
  • Do not turn conversation into therapy by correcting or requesting repetition unnecessarily.
  • Repeat and rephrase as needed.
  • Confirm that you are being understood. Ask simple questions and avoid loaded or multiple questions.
  • In a group, one person should speak at any one time.
  • Introduce one idea at a time; Change topics slowly.

Remember that communication is a multi-way process. You are one part of that process and what ever you can do to aid good communication will result in a better message being communicated.

Design & Development by Interesource Group (Ireland) Limited