I will never forget one particular phone call when I was maybe thirteen or fourteen. I called my friend to ask him to go out with me. I was really nervous as usual when going to make a phone call. I repeated the sentences in my head, picked up the phone, waited for someone to answer it and it was his mum. I could not stop stuttering, but she understood that I wanted to talk to him. I thought she had gone to call him and as I was really upset with me, I started to swear A LOT. But his mum was still on the other side of the line and heard me. Then she just said: “Miro, what had you just said?” I felt like a complete idiot!
Things carried on, I avoided phone calls as much as I could and remember another situation from my first part time job while studying at a university. The position I held was a basic administrator role with another three women in the office who used to leave me alone at lunch breaks as someone had to answer the phones. And you can imagine what I was doing. The phones were ringing, but I did not answer ANY, not even one during those 9 months there. I was so terrified!
Time went by, my self-confidence got better and I decided to move from Slovakia to London. I got a job at a hotel as a porter. The duties required being on the phone a lot, answer a phone call within three rings and plus I had to talk to natives in a language I was not that good at that time. I was thrown into a jungle and … I lived and actually enjoyed it. I had to. I did not have any other option. I just had to do it and that was the best solution to all my fears.
That is why I recommend everyone who suffices from speech stuttering and is afraid of making phone calls to do them as often as possible. It sounds scary, but it helps! Here are some tips:
– Feel the fear, but do it anyway. It is normal to have fears, but it is very brave to beat them. You will feel great and self-confident.
– Identify situations where you avoid using the telephone and slowly start doing them. One by one until you have tackled all of them. Do not send email or texts, use a phone. This is not the way for a stuttering help.
– Try to be the person in your household who answers all calls.
– Learn from non-stutterers. Listen to them as they use the phone and you will realize they are not as perfect as we think they are.
– Practice, practice, practice. Do not let it dominate your life. Make it your best friend. It is much better to use the phone and stutter than to avoid using the phone. You are the winner!