Fluency Buildup

If your OECT Feedback indicates you struggle with fluency,

  1. Find a TED Talk (e.g. from Monica’s list of recommended 3-minute TED Talks) or Newsy report you find interesting.
  2. Select the transcript text with your mouse and click “Ctrl + C” to copy it. Paste your copied text into a Microsoft Word or other document by clicking Ctrl + V.
  3. Watch the TED talk at least twice, inserting “/” where the speaker makes a short pause and inserting “//” where the speaker makes a long pause. (Use pencil if you do this with a printed transcript, so you can easily fix mistakes!)

When you see / a diagram like this, / I don’t want you to be afraid. I want you to be excited. I want you to be relieved. / Because / simple answers may emerge. / We’re discovering in nature that / simplicity often lies / on the other side of complexity. So for any problem, / the more you can zoom out / and embrace complexity, the better chance you have / of zooming in / on the simple details / that matter most. (Eric Berlow: “Simplifying Complexity,” TED)

  1. Listen again to how the speaker says a sentence or two and then pause the video.
  2. Say the first phrase 5 times, without any pauses and following the speaker’s phrase stress, intonation, etc. (If you do pause when saying the phrase, start over at 1 again when counting your 5 times.), e.g.

What you say: “When. . . .you see. . . .”

What you think: ‘Oh, no! I paused. I need to start over. . .’

What you say: “When you see. . . , When you see. . ., When you see. . ., When you see. . ., When you see. . . .”

What you think: ‘Okay, I can go to the next phrase. . . .’

  1. Do the same thing with the second phrase 5 times.
  2. Now say the first and second phrase together 3 times, pausing only between the phrases:

What you say: “When you see / a diagram like this,. . . , When you see / a diagram like this,. . . , When you see / a diagram like this,. . . , “

  1. Say the third phrase 5 times as above.
  2. Now say the first, second, and third phrase together 3 times.
  3. Continuing adding one phrase at a time, listening to the video when needed a few sentences at a time, until you can say an entire paragraph fluently, pausing only where the speaker paused.
  4. Start over with the next paragraph at step 6 above. Once you’ve finished practicing the second paragraph, practice saying both the first and second paragraphs 3 times, allowing yourself to pause only where the speaker did.
  5. Continue this process until you can give the speaker’s entire speech fluently.


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