Posted December 19, 2012on:
Whenever I hear someone else stutter, that I wasn’t expecting, my stuttering radar kick in. What do I mean?
I was at a networking meeting on Thursday and a woman from a local agency was the main presenter. She stuttered. My ears picked it up right away and I felt my cheeks warm, as this surprised me. I am used to being the only one at these meetings who stutters.
And here was this woman talking and stuttering easily. She had no visible signs of tension or struggle. Her stuttering was in the form of hesitations and repetitions.
She was a very good speaker. She kept eye contact while talking and didn’t seem bothered at all by her stuttering. Neither did any of the listeners. There was no visible reaction by any listeners. I know this, as I glanced around to see how people were responding. Everyone was respectfully listening and making appropriate eye contact with the speaker.
I was the only one who appeared to be taken with the fact that this woman was also a stutterer. Thoughts went through my mind: “Hey, I stutter too!” “You go girl.” “Should I say something to her after?” Would that be appropriate? Would she be OK with that?
I decided not to react to her any differently than I would to any other speaker. After all, she was doing something I do all the time too. Speaking, presenting, sharing information that other people need and want.
As a stutterer, my radar kicks up a notch when I hear someone else stuttering. Perhaps it’s just the novelty of, for once, not being the only one in the room who experiences less than perfect speech.