We had a great NSA (combined with AIS!) meeting this past Tuesday over at the American Institute for Stuttering offices. A little over 30 people were there. We kicked it off with short introductions, and then split up into two groups.
The group in Heather’s office, with Sara (our newest NSA Midtown co-leader!) and Chaya, talked a lot about stuttering at work and how advertising the fact that we stutter can be helpful. They talked about how this can help us feel more at ease, especially when showcasing our abilities as a potential employee. One member brought up a situation where she met a little kid on the train who asked her why she “doesn’t talk good,” and she then explained stuttering to the kid. This led to different discussions about kids. One of these focused on how children are really honest, which is great, but how this honesty makes us both thankful as well as apprehensive because some of us feel like what kids have the guts to say may in fact be exactly what adults are thinking and just too afraid to say. This story also brought up a conversation about other kids/ teasing in our childhoods– and that many of us are happy to now be adults and not have to deal with this. Others find that adults have their own way of teasing and that we’re not necessarily in the clear/ free from these types of situations that make us feel bad.
Members in the other group in the main AIS room, with Stavros and Michael, shared some recent and upcoming challenges. One member asked for advice about dealing with a colleague at a Toastmasters public speaking club who has suggested that he needs to work on his stuttering in order to improve as a public speaker. A few of us encouraged him (and each other) that it’s definitely possible to excel at giving presentations and/or public speaking even if we aren’t fluent. Obviously this is easier said than done, but having that mentality – that stuttering is ok even in challenging speaking situations – is a great goal in and of itself. Another member shared that he’ll soon be speaking at a funeral, and we all encouraged him to try focusing on the content of his speech more than the possibility of stuttering. Again, several of us acknowledged that this could be challenging, but a few people gave examples of how content matters more than stuttering vs. not stuttering.
Thanks for a great group everyone!!!! As a side note, I’m SUPER pumped to be back at these meetings (I wasn’t able to make it these past few months). Also, thanks to Sara for helping me out with this recap. See you in February!!!