What It's Like to Give A Presentation About Stuttering At Work
August 5, 2020
Chaya Goldstein, M.A., CCC-SLP
At AIS we often talk about the value of self-advertising our stuttering. Self advertising has many benefits, including decreasing the fear of stuttering, educating our listeners, and creating a more 'stutter friendly' zone. Recently, Leah Graham, one of AIS's clients, self advertised her stutter in her workplace. She did this by giving a presentation about stuttering in front of all of her colleagues. Gutsy, we know! Here is what the experience was like for her.
Tell us about yourself and why you decided to do the presentation:
My name is Leah Graham. I am from Mount Holly, NC but currently live in Charlotte, NC. I am a person who stutters and I work in the Human Services field as a Social Worker in Childcare Subsidy. I am also the Charlotte Adult Chapter Leader for the National Stuttering Association. I really wanted to do something special for National Stuttering Awareness Week. Last year for National Stuttering Awareness week I posted a rejection letter to Facebook from a company that stated the reason they did not hire me was because the position required “talking on the phone”. I remember posting, “I can talk on the phone, I can talk on the phone, I can talk on the damn phone”. In contrast, this year, I decided to do a presentation to my current company on stuttering and stuttering in the workplace. Initially, it was supposed to be in person, but COVID-19 had other plans.
How did you set up the presentation and get everyone to commit and attend?
To set up the presentation, I sent a letter to my supervisor, who was totally on board. She even suggested I send an invitation to Vice-President Joe Biden (that is how awesome she is). I invited my entire department to a Zoom meeting. My wife (the queen of presentations) helped me give my presentation some focus and after a run through decided it needed more vulnerability (like isn’t stuttering vulnerable enough?!). Nevertheless, she was right. Offering a greater sense of vulnerability to my presentation really helped me connect with the audience and vice versa.
Share with us the main ideas of the presentation, and how it felt to give the presentation:
We tackled myths about stuttering through a really interactive True/False segment. A co-worker even divulged that she stutters too! We talked about employability for people who stutter and the interpersonal skills people who stutter possess. Everyone was engaged. I remember feeling like something was in my eyes, others may have called it tears, but whatever. I was in a space of complete gratitude and affirmation. I got some excellent and really profound feedback from my team and my superiors.[caption id="attachment_19591" align="aligncenter" width="431"]
The American Institute for Stuttering is a leading non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide universally affordable, state-of-the-art speech therapy to people of all ages who stutter, guidance to their families, and much-needed clinical training to speech professionals wishing to gain expertise in stuttering. Offices are located in New York, NY and Atlanta, GA, and services are also available Online. Our mission extends to advancing public and scholarly understanding of this often misunderstood disorder.
Chaya Goldstein, M.A., CCC-SLP
Chaya brings a unique understanding of the stuttering experience. As a person who uncovered her voice after being covert about stuttering for many years, she has a passion for helping others find their power and joy in communicating.