How many times has this happened to you? You’re in a conversation with someone, either someone you know well or someone unfamiliar. You’re going along fine with what you are saying and then it hits – a big block.
You get stuck and nothing comes out. You feel helpless and the moment feels like an hour. Your mouth is open and nothing is happening. Or sound is coming out but not the word.
And then your listener tries to help and finishes the word or sentence for you. Maybe they even got it right.
Or maybe they get it wrong, and say something not even remotely close to what you were actually going to say.
How does this make you feel? What do you do?
When this has happened to me, sometimes I feel angry. Angry that the block has happened in the first place and that someone has seen what I look like when I get stuck. I imagine it looks awful, but I’m sure in reality it doesn’t.
I also might feel angry if the listener has finished my word and they guessed wrong. I do one of two things: finish what I was going to say anyway and move on, or move on and pretend like nothing happened.
I don’t like to do that – pretend nothing happened, because something did. I got stuck in a block and someone reacted to it.
I wish I had the guts to acknowledge my feelings when this happens but I often don’t. I don’t like to draw more attention to my stuttering.
What about you?
Episode 21 of the occasional male podcast series features Dylan Madeley, who hails from a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Dylan discusses his plans to advertise and promote his first book, which leads us to talk about advertising stuttering before public speaking events. Dylan plans to be more “out there” with his stuttering once he is published.
We also discuss his strategies for book readings and how performance anxiety really triggers his stuttering.
This was a great conversation. Dylan shares professionally about his writing and personally about his stuttering. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions.
The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to DanoSongs.
Episode 126 features Christine Birney who hails from Kesh, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Christine works as a child care assistant.
She is also the founder of the Northern Ireland Support for Stammering and Dysfluency (NISSD) Fermanagh chapter for people who stammer in the west of Northern Ireland.
Listen in as we discuss the impact of workplace stammering and about confidence building. Christine shares about her journey with speech and language therapy, and meeting and talking with other people who stammer.
We also discuss Christine’s start-up of the stammering support chapter and the advertising she has done to reach out to people. Christine has done several interviews about her new support group.
This was a wonderful conversation with a confident young woman who embodies the importance of talking to people. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions in the comment section.
The podcast safe music used in today’s episode is credited to ccMixter.
I wrote a post on Loss of Control five years ago! And it still rings true today. I want to share parts of that post in today’s blog post.
Probably one of the most helpless feelings a person can have is that feeling you get when you lose control when speaking. You probably know what I mean.
My stomach feels like its going to bottom out, my chest gets tight, and my heart starts to pound so hard it feels like everyone can hear it. And my face heats up, I feel a lump in my throat and then my eyes start to well up. If the feeling lasts longer than a few seconds, my eyes spill over.
I feel loss of control when I get embarrassed, because these reactions happen automatically and involuntarily. I also feel loss of control when I get angry, or sad. I always felt like I should be able to control my reactions to feelings. Almost all of the same physical reactions occur.
I used to feel I had some control over my stuttering. Fairly early, I began to know which words or sounds I might stutter on, and concentrated on switching words or doing the avoidance thing. That stopped working for me long ago.
I started feeling more in control when I dropped most of the covert stuttering and just let natural stuttering out. Since not fighting so hard to not stutter, I have felt pretty controlled with my easy, relaxed repetitions.
But sometimes my speech is messy. I can’t predict stuttering moments like I used to be able to, and I feel more tension and lack of control.
I often feel helpless, especially when around someone new or who is impatient.
Even though I tell myself I don’t care what others think, I still sometimes feel the sting of judgment and fear rejection.
What do you think? Do you feel out of control when you get really stuck in a stuttering moment? Does this feeling ever go away?
Episode 125 features Satu Nygren who hails from Helsinki, Finland. Satu is 23 years old, is very active in the stuttering community and works as an au pair in Stockholm, Sweden.
Satu is a board member for the Finnish Stuttering Association and has attended youth camps sponsored by the European League of Stuttering Associations (ELSA.)
Satu attended her first youth camp three years ago, where she first saw a person who stutters act and speak with confidence.
Listen in as we talk about how people who stutter in Finland are regarded, covert stuttering, confidence and the positive impact acting had on Satu’s stuttering.
This was a great conversation with a bubbly, social young woman who loves to communicate. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions.
The podcast safe music used in this clip is credited to ccMixter.
I just finished reading a great article in my Toastmasters magazine on the importance of body language when speaking, whether to one person or a large group.
As a Toastmaster, I know the importance of body language. It helps us to convey feelings and emotions and shows our level of confidence. People pick up on our non-verbal cues and then often know how to react or respond.
As I read and reflected on body language, it made me wonder how it relates with our stuttering. I posed this question on an online forum for women who stutter and got some good responses.
Several said something similar – standing with pride. Friend Amey writes: “Shoulders back, head up, eye contact. Keeping this posture during stuttering can be liberating. It rips down stereotypes of us being scared and curled up in a ball.”
Amey goes on to say that seeing a proud person who stutters is powerful. It conveys confidence. She says, “Watch me stutter!”
What do you think? Is body language important to keep in mind about our stuttering? Can you feel pride while stuttering?
I participated in a great conversation this week about ways to build confidence if you stutter. During a Stutter Social chat, a young person asked how some of us more “seasoned stutterers” deal with the anxiety of stuttering in certain speaking situations.
Some people shared their experiences from speech therapy, some shared from their perspective on acceptance and two of us talked a little about Toastmasters.
The following are some of the ideas that we shared about building confidence. Maybe you’ve tried some of them. Maybe you’ve got a suggestion to add.
- Don’t obsess or rehearse before hand. That increases anxiety and decreases spontaneous conversation.
- Consider advertising and letting listeners know that you are a person who stutters.
- Try using voluntary stuttering to help you gain some control during the speaking situation.
- Seize opportunities to speak, such as Toastmasters clubs or other speaking forums. Practice helps reduce anxiety and build confidence.
- Remind yourself that you have as much right to be in that speaking situation as the next person, that your voice deserves to be heard.
- If someone interrupts you, calmly let them know you’re not finished speaking yet and then proceed to complete your thoughts, no matter how long it takes.
What do you think? Do you have anything to add?