Make Room For The Stuttering

Being Introduced As A Stutterer

Posted on: March 26, 2014

Last night at my Toastmasters meeting, I was surprised by how someone introduced me at the start of the meeting. I will also admit that I was a bit embarrassed.

I was scheduled to be the Toastmaster, or emcee, for the evening. Therefore, the club president had to introduce me. As the theme of the meeting was perseverance, he chose to tie perseverance into his introduction of me.

The president indicated that I was a person who epitomizes courage and perseverance, as it takes courage to be a person who stutters and a Toastmaster. He went on to say that I have risen through the ranks of Toastmasters and achieved the highest designation, that of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM.) He asked people to take note of how I run the meeting, as I am a good role model for fellow members and guests.

He stated that it takes courage to stutter and embrace public speaking and that I am an inspiration to the club. He concluded that I am a hero to him.

When I stood up and proceeded to speak, I was aware that I was embarrassed. Both for the high praise and words of kindness, but also because he introduced me as a person who stutters. I don’t remember ever getting an introduction like that in my eight years in Toastmasters.

I thanked him for his hearty introduction and remarked that I hoped I could live up to his lofty words.

I was embarrassed because someone else was advertising that I stutter to people who didn’t know that about me. It’s not that I’m embarrassed that I stutter, it’s just that I wasn’t expecting this type of introduction and I felt a bit taken aback.

On the plus side, though, I found that I allowed myself to stutter more freely throughout my remarks during the meeting and even did some voluntary stuttering.

What do you think? How would you have felt if someone had given a surprise introduction like that?

11 Responses to "Being Introduced As A Stutterer"

I think his introduction was done with good intentions. If it was in a forum where you had not been speaking then I might have been taken back a bit…but probably not since the way he presented you. I’m not one to be caught up in the “stutterer” / I’m a person who stutters” discussion. It is a part of you and he introduced you as a courageous and high level speaker in your club…and within Toastmasters. It is part of your story….and a interesting page turner it is! 🙂

Thanks Annie! I appreciate your feedback. Page turner indeed!

Interesting. I am not a stammerer so I hope you don’t mind me commenting. My late son was a stammerer though so I do remember some of the issues. I feel he would not have appreciated the introduction.
My feeling is that although it was done with good intentions as Annie says, he shouldn’t have mentioned it. You are an emcee and although what he said was positive, your top toastmaster spot is obviously because you are good at what you do. You can deal with any verbal slip ups yourself. It may even be this extra pressure that gives you an edge and makes you a better speaker than many of the others.
I know my son was a bit like that. He also had a job that involved lots of public speaking and communication. He got up on stage as well to introduce bands. I would be mortified but he loved it.
So I don’t think it was right. You might have wanted to keep that info private and it wasn’t up to him to make it public. Even if he was very flattering and it is part of your back story.

Hi Jane – thanks for the feedback. Of course, I don’t mind you commenting. I welcome and encourage everyone to share their thoughts and comments.
Thanks for sharing about your son.
There were some new people in the group who don’t know I stutter, so I felt a bit taken aback that someone else was telling people that for me.
It felt a bit uncomfortable – not because I stutter, but because how it was done.

Pamela if somebody ever gives me a similar introduction I will be overjoyed and try not to be too embarrassed by the compliments.

Thanks Paul – I guess I need to learn to accept compliments more easily. The attention embarrassed me.

Thank you for posting this! I am a student and am learning about stuttering and fluency disorders and appreciate the stories of PWS; I just recently facilitated a NSA meeting and am gathering a stronger interest in stuttering! Keep doing what you’re doing; it will touch many and create great discussion! 🙂


Hi Kiersten – thanks for visiting and for taking the time to leave feedback. It is much appreciated. So glad to hear you recently facilitated a NSA meeting. Learning from actual people who stutter is the best way to learn.
I hope to see you back on this blog from time to time. Please feel free to spread the word about my blog.

I’ve had this happen to me quite a few times, and yet I still don’t know how to exactly feel about it. Introducing myself as someone who stutters really pulls that weight from off my shoulders. Having someone else do it for me almost feels like the speaker wanted the audience to feel somewhat sympathetic towards you. I’m sure he meant well. Maybe talk to him about this and see where that goes. One thing for sure is that it really seems like he cares a lot about you and is “looking out” for you.

Thanks for the comment. Maybe he did want the audience to know, and to perhaps be sympathetic, but it still felt odd having someone else “take the power” by introducing my stuttering.
What were the situations when you have had it happen to you?

To be honest it happened a few times to me. Each time I probably felt different depending on the audience. What you do is when you go to speak, make a joke about your stuttering. Laughing at yourself is an amazing thing.

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