Stuttering In The Workplace

In a recent survey of people who stutter, 86% of respondents agreed with the statement, “Stuttering has, at times, interfered with my job performance.”

Stuttering and other fluency issues can cause issues in the professional world on several levels. Often the speech difficulty itself isn’t the issue. Rather, the person who stutters may lack confidence in their ability to communicate, and refrain from saying what they want to say in certain situations or to certain people. Often the individual has had a lifetime of stuttering but has never sought the services of a speech-language pathologist. Their confidence is down. In their mind their stuttering (or dysfluency) is not nearly as obvious to the listener as the individual things. They are hesitant to speak in front of others. This hesitancy in speech can greatly affect overall communication and subsequently, job performance. In today’s business world, public speaking is required in most positions. Public speaking can be everything from the manner in which one communicates with their boss and colleagues to the formal presentation to present your product or service.

It’s never too late to get help from a corporate speech-language pathologist for fluency issues. The speech therapist can work with the person who stutters on several levels, teaching techniques to modify stuttering and increase overall fluency. Often, the speech pathologist will also provide counseling designed to build confidence so that the person is better able to speak their mind, with or without a stutter. Through practice the person that stutters can learn to control their speech and gain greater confidence. The very first step is the telephone call.

We receive calls from individuals that stutter quite frequent. Often it is the occasional stutter but other times it is more significant. Last year we received a call from a family member on behalf of their loved one that was dysfluent (stuttered). After obtaining the necessary information from the family member, I asked to speak with the individual that would be receiving the training. Sadly, I was unable to understand even his name on the telephone. Fast forward that story to today: that individual is completely fluent when we speak on the telephone! He has truly mastered the techniques that help him to control the stuttering. We have most definitely impacted his personal and professional life.

The most important point is that it is never too late to learn the strategies to control the dysfluent speech patterns.