Friends, dating, interviews & stammering
Joe Baker tells us how things are with his stammer and shares the technique that he uses to deal with it.
I first noticed my speech was different when I was at primary school. Throughout my school years it was a problem in class, especially as a self-conscious teenager when speaking in front of everyone.
Obviously not everyone who stammers is the same, but it was difficult for me during my teenage years to deal with it along with all the other things such as friendships, etc. On the topic of friendships, stammering has affected my ability to relax around people, particularly with strangers, where it takes more of an effort for me to try and talk. This made it hard to meet new people.
There are various methods I've used to try and control it; some work, and some don't. But I found the 'sliding technique' to be quite effective. This is where, if you can't get a word out, you slide on the first sound and prolong it until the rest of the word comes out.
...having a stammer can make you feel like you are going to fail even before the interview has started.
One area which I need to work on more is job interviews. If you don't prepare for them, whether you stammer or not you're likely to be unsuccessful! But having a stammer can make you feel like you are going to fail even before the interview has started. You must have a positive mindset in this situation, otherwise worrying about stammering will just make you stammer even more. Practise, practise, is what I must become accustomed to — practising what I'm going to say helps me to feel a bit more confident.
Ultimately, the more people there are around me when I am talking, the more self-conscious I become. That's why I don't particularly feel comfortable in large places such as pubs etc, because I often have to repeat myself which becomes frustrating, especially if it is a loud place. I have the added difficulty of having a croaky voice. Therefore it has been even more important for me to make myself heard and speak clearly.
When I'm playing, my mind is taken off what other people think, so my confidence is channelled in different ways.
It can be difficult on the dating scene as well. Not only is there the issue of attracting girls, but you then have that added barrier to overcome when talking to them and stammering. It of course, depends on who you are comfortable with.
Being physically fit is important to me, so are doing hobbies I enjoy such as playing football. This helps me to not worry about my speech. When I'm playing, my mind is taken off what other people think, so my confidence is channelled in different ways.
Stammering only affects you when you let it, but if you are able to access speech and language therapy, I would recommend it as it can be useful to try and find what works for you.
If you would like to explore speech and language therapy or other options to help with stammering, see Adult Therapy & Courses.