22 October is International Stammering Awareness Day.
MyPlus Students’ Club asked Chris Scott, a graduate from EY’s Stammering Network, to share his experience on managing a stammer in the workplace.
“One of the main hurdles I overcame was being confident with my stammer. I know when I’m going to get stuck on words, and even with breathing and avoidance techniques, I’ve learned that I work best by embracing my stammer.
I know I’m going to stammer more during stressful situations, such as public speaking or talking in a group. So instead of pilling more pressure on myself and getting worked up about it – unnecessary stress will compound my stammering – I have learned to accept that it may take a little longer to get the message out and it is up to the audience to respond to what I say.
My time in the EY network has given me the chance to practice key presentation skills in a safe and supportive environment. I have had the opportunity to attend workshops specifically on speech related skills including phone skills, as well as information workshops where we cover more theoretical concepts around how stammering is perceived in society.
I have learned that it’s more important to try and change negative attitudes around stammering than try and ‘fix’ my own stammer.
I also feel lucky to have the support of friends in the EY Stammering Network and colleagues in the office who understand that I have a stammer and fully support me in my every-day working environment. Disclosing your disability can be a daunting task but I am very glad that I was open about my stammer with my peers, mentors and new joiners, because it has given me the confidence to speak at EY events, write and deliver a best man speech and put my face on a UK wide poster campaign raising awareness for International Stammering Awareness Day last year.
My thoughts and feeling on my own stammer have changed hugely over the last 6 years; from my times (good and bad) at University, through to the help and support I’ve received from some amazing and hugely inspirational people I work with now. It is normal to have conflicting thoughts on your stammer, and we are all at different stages along a path tread by many, but often not openly discussed. Take strength from networks around you, and take comfort in knowing you are not alone.”