Stuttering

Hey WSO,

Would love to hear about the experiences of those who stutter and how they have worked through it to get to where they are, if there's any resources/activities you would recommend, etc.

For background, I'm almost at the end of my undergrad and I currently stutter fairly heavily, with hard blocks every few words. I realise that it is a long term uphill battle, especially with the fact that my career interests lie in Investment Banking and Management Consulting, and with a low GPA I'll have to do a lot of networking and move through numerous outside positions before I can finally get in.

Comments (25)

Most Helpful
Jun 30, 2019

I have a stutter. Ironically I'm also known as very articulate, charismatic and well spoken.

Honestly, the best advice to learn how to speak effectively and Toastmasters. Took some classes in my day. Also, people underestimate how much effort it takes to communicate with women in a bar. Or get a part-time job as a telemarketer.

I guess the key is just to speak often and to as many people as you can. The better you get at speaking the more confidence you will get. And confidence is the key here and in most things.

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Jun 30, 2019
God Emperor Doom:

And confidence is the key here and in most things.

This.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jun 30, 2019

I'm sure you know more info - I thought stutters had workable fixes for some cases with speech pathologists?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jul 1, 2019

Yea there are. I have certain sounds I avoid because I can't say them that well.

Used to be way worse. Used to stutter saying things like my name, Mom, spaghetti, mail, I, etc.

Jun 30, 2019

Thanks mate, that sounds good. Can't stay holed up and expect to magically be articulate when I get out. Will definitely take a look at toastmasters.

Jun 30, 2019

I used to be a very bad stutterer, though it has improved a lot in the last decade. I'm still fairly inarticulate in person.

Look, you need to know your limitations and focus on career paths that you can reasonably succeed in. Thomas Jefferson was a very poor public speaker in an era when public speaking was everything. His career was made largely on the written word.

If you really are a bad stutterer and/or are naturally inarticulate (and you don't think either issue can be reasonably corrected), you need to bounce away from careers in high finance. It's just the reality. The big money in high finance is made by those who bring in business--they are gregarious, extroverted, and very articulate speakers. If you don't think that's you then pivot away sooner rather than later. Make your money in entrepreneurship. Don't set yourself up for failure.

Edit: I will add that extremely deep knowledge of a subject matter really does boost confidence in a way that can make you (well, me, in this case) very articulate. So, you can conceivably overcome poor speaking skills (not public speaking--I'm talking about "talking" skills) if you have a deep and abiding knowledge of a topic where you aren't having to even think that hard about what you're saying.

Jul 1, 2019

I'm in a similar situation to OP. I've stuttered all my life, but I've gotten good at hiding it and using certain techniques to mitigate it. Networking is obviously super important especially when you're in college like I am and the idea of meeting up with a stranger or setting up a call with someone to talk about their career was completely terrifying at first, but once I started talking to people on a regular basis my fear mostly went away. I agree with one of the users above, stuttering has made me more articulate in many ways than many of my peers because I have to be very deliberate with what I say and how I say it. I noticed this early on in middle school and high school during class presentations, most people would basically read off of the slides or a notecard word for word but because I had trouble reading out loud (I still can't really read out loud) I had to speak in a manner that was more free flowing and natural and made me sound a lot better than other people my age at the time.

I think that having a stutter just puts more pressure on you to know your shit better than anyone else, at least in an interview setting. I had a super day with HFF in the fall and I got grilled by two MD's in a session and my stutter began to flare up and I didn't do too well. All my other sessions went great, but I didn't end up getting the job and I think that session was why. I think the way to get around those types of situations is just to prepare as much as possible, rehearse and know what you're going to say when confronted with common questions and your answers will likely be smooth. I'd also say having impeccable written communication (which is severely overlooked by many imo) is also critical. Stuttering will make networking and interviewing harder, but it doesn't make the process impossible. Having a stutter also builds character, you face a series of hurdles every time you open your mouth to speak and people who speak without interruption will never know how hard that is. I know for me; my stutter has made me a much kinder and more empathetic person and a stronger and more resilient one. So, whenever I get down about my stutter, I remind myself of that. Good luck and feel free to PM with any questions

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Jul 1, 2019

Here's one tip I learned. Try to visualize the word in your head and pronounce each syllable. Kinda like karaoke but you aren't singing. Remember to breathe. Be confident. It's ok to pause when speaking to regain control of your tongue and brain. We stutters don't think like everyone else we have to remember these things that everyone else seem to do automatically.

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Jul 1, 2019
Jul 2, 2019

Array

Jul 2, 2019

I stuttered a lot growing up. Hell, I even got made fun. But do you know I got it cured and this is the honest truth? I went out and socialized more. When I worked at a bank in the city, I forced myself out to build rapport with people in the industry. Well, people within my firm and met a few others from elsewhere and it helped build my confidence.

Jul 2, 2019

I think the most well known quasi-gimmick cure for stuttering is the ol' "play music really loudly so you can't hear yourself" a la The King's Speech. Actually saw this work to moderately decent effect in real life here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XogvI6TP72M.
I like what people are saying about simply trying to speak as often and for as long as possible as, from a laymans perspective, it seem impractical / expensive to: i) Constantly try and chat women up at a bar; ii) Take a toastmasters class; iii) Rely on psychedelic drugs; iv) Etc, etc, etc. Out of pure conjecture, I'd try one of two things: i) Constantly talking to yourself (as you drive from A to B, or as you walk down the street), just describing what you see and trying to get into a steady, uninterrupted flow; ii) Playing online games with a headset (yes, you'll get a lot of children saying they'd banged your mum, but it could help in terms of engaging in dialogue and being interrupted by others).

Best of luck to you mate!

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Jul 2, 2019

My toastmasters was free. Chatting up women at a bar isn't terribly expensive (at least it wasn't for me)

Jul 4, 2019

Fair enough, although I think the point concerning impracticality stands: much easier to come home after work and turn on your games console / talk to yourself walking to and fro the office than have to go to bars regularly (especially if that's not necessarily your thing, and could well be a hinderance during the working week), etc, etc.

Aug 1, 2019

Personally, it has never been a linear path. There are phases where I'm extremely articulate and fluent, where I can rock a meeting and impress the partners and the client. There are other phases I go through where it's an utter disaster and I just need to hammer through while the partner seated next to me is getting irritated and huffing in my ear.
What makes it worse is my stuttering tends to spin out of control when I'm facing high levels of stress in my personal life, when I'm vulnerable and using all my energy to function normally instead of using it to be articulate.
I haven't cracked it yet, and I'm not sure if I will or if it matters. The route I'm trying to take is to build a brand where my experience and skill overshadows anything else. Maybe my stutter can do for me what the turtle neck did for Stevie. Or maybe I need to put down the gin...

    • 1
Aug 1, 2019
  1. Go to a speech therapist
  2. Look into how people who've overcome this have done it. Joe Biden has a stammer - you saw it once or twice last night - but he's lived his entire life in the public eye.
Aug 1, 2019
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