Make Room For The Stuttering

On Communication

Posted on: February 18, 2009

Last night, I had the opportunity to talk to a group of business professionals about public speaking tips for the business world. I had an hour long talk planned, and was eager to do well and make a good impression. But mostly, I wanted to communicate effectively and present myself as someone simply sharing information from my truest self.

I remember when I was asked to give this presentation thinking, when they realize I stutter, will they still want me to talk about communication and speaking opportunties? My worry was unfounded. I was direct and upfront about my stuttering being part of me during our initial phone meeting, and the fact that I stutter seemed really to emphasize the whole point of what communication is really all about.

Its not about being perfectly fluent. Its about the message we convey, with our words, our body language, our voice, our tone and our presence. Everybody can benefit from learning about that, whether they happen to stutter or not. My Toastmasters training and experience gave me the confidence and competence to deliver a sound message to an interested group. The group was diverse – some were retired, some were just starting out their careers, some were comfortable speakers, some were non-native English speakers. Three people came up to me after the talk to inquire about additional information on how to visit a Toastmasters club.

This was a really positive experience for me. I acknowledged my stuttering, but did not make it the focal point of the talk. Rather, I drew examples where I allowed my fear and worries to limit my engagement with the world. Once past that, I see a whole new world and that is what I shared with this group.

Sure, I stuttered some during the 52 minutes I spoke. It did not detract from my message. It did not distract the audience. Most importantly, it did not bother me. I did not get flustered or stop. I simply allowed for the stuttering, comfortably, and moved on. And left the audince with something to think about and talk about.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2017.