Make Room For The Stuttering

When It Rains, Get Wet

Posted on: March 20, 2009

When it rains, get wet. I love this saying. What it means is to live life to the fullest, experience all that you can, even things that you are afraid of.

I shared this recently with some members of my Toastmasters club. We were talking about fears of public speaking and some ideas about how to overcome nervousness when talking to groups. Quite a few members are really terrified of getting up in front of others. They are afraid they are going to make mistakes and look foolish.

When I first started Toastmasters, I was really afraid of embarrassing myself or being misunderstood. It was all about me. I would be nervous, I would choke, I would be laughed at. I needed to make a mind-set shift, and realize that it is not all about me when speaking, its about the listener. When you are asked to speak, the listener or audience wants you to succeed, so they will get something out of your talk, not be miserable or fall asleep. Once I realized that and started believing it, I became more comfortable speaking in front of groups. I was speaking not to just get through something, but because the audience really wanted to hear what I had to say.

Sharing that with fellow club members gave some of them a new perspective. Some said they had never thought of it like that. I have seen members relax and engage when speaking and look much more comfortable. Some have actually looked like they were having fun while speaking.

One week, a club member talked about scuba diving, and he brought in his diving gear and explained it all to us and how it works. He looked like he was having so much fun and we in the audience greatly enjoyed his talk.

I spent a lot of time in my life not doing things because I was afraid I was going to make a mistake. I was afraid of being rejected or laughed at. I missed out on lots of things because of that fear. It wasn’t always because of stuttering, but that was certainly part of it. I didn’t like being different. When it rained, I was afraid to get wet.

I finally reached the point when I was sick of holding back and missing out. My very first Toastmasters speech was about stuttering. Once I did that and got it out there, I no longer had that for an excuse. Nothing horrible happened and the earth did not stop. No one laughed. They heard me, not stuttering.

Now I mentor new members in Toastmasters. Who would have thought? It pays to take risks. Its okay to get wet. You will dry off in no time.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. 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 2022.
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