We had a wonderful meeting this August! It was a small and vibrant group filled with great ideas and conversation. As usual, we split into three groups. Here are some of the conversations had and topics discussed:
One group spoke about self-advertising and how and why it might differ when it’s voluntary vs involuntary. For example, introducing yourself as a person who stutters might be easier than “admitting” you are a person who stutters after a prolonged block or a tough dysfluency. The implications of hiding one’s true self was explored, and we discussed strategies to try voluntary advertising, such as working on a script for what to say when advertising.
A second group discussed topics related to stuttering in the workplace. A few members spoke about frustration and anxiety regarding unemployment and the interview process. Some members shared strategies that were helpful to them during their job search such as advertising their stuttering during job interviews, voluntary stuttering to get stuttering “out in the open,” seeking out volunteer opportunities to get experience in their field of choice, as well as attending NSA mock interviews! Additionally, many ideas were shared on how to successfully navigate stuttering in the workplace, including speaking to an immediate boss, speaking to Human Resources, independently advertising, and creating allies at work. Most importantly, our members learned that they were not alone with these employment struggles and were able to bounce off ideas and candidly share their thoughts with the rest of the group.
Another topic introduced at the meeting was celebrating personal successes. One member expressed that he began challenging himself to enter more speaking situations and wants to celebrate his successes, no mater how minor they may seem to others. However, he shared that he felt uncomfortable embracing these positive moments of communication because these interactions do not need to be celebrated by people who don’t stutter because they usually come easily to them. This led into a heated discussion about the importance of celebrating personal successes and not comparing ourselves to others- whether that means other PWS or fluent individuals. We also discussed how even people who don’t stutter have their own struggles and everyone has a right to praise and reward themselves for stepping out of their comfort zones and doing things that are challenging. Our overall sentiment was that our self-perception should not be based on their opinions of others and self-love is vital when challenging oneself to tackle feared communication situations.