Stammering- How I tackled it
Below is my toastmaster’s CC1 speech.
Hello, My name is Siddharth Sharma. I was born and bought up in Jaipur, Rajasthan. I completed my Engineering from Jaipur in Electronics and Communication. After graduating as an engineer, I moved to Pune to work as a freelance web developer and explore business opportunities in the Software industry. After two years, I realized that it was not working out well, thus I accepted a job opportunity to work as a software developer for a startup in Bangalore. I moved to Bangalore in May, 2015.
That was an outsider’s perspective of my life, an insider’s view is that I have a speech disfluency or stutter from the age of 5.
I have always been amazed and inclined towards how human subconscious mind works, as it used to play an important role in my speech. There were times in my school life, when I was able to speak fluently, when I was asked to read a paragraph from the course book.
That reminds me stuttering is of two types: first one where a person gets stuck on a word when trying to speak or gets hard blocks and second one where a person repeats the letter of a word before being able to speak that word. Both are caused because of different reasons but may relate to each other somehow. I have mostly faced the first one.
So coming back to my speech, I was a hard stutter in my school life compared to what I’m now. I took a couple of speech therapy sessions, but none of them seemed to help me much, then I got to know about TISA, which is The Indian Stammering Association. It is a not-for-profit organization created and operated by people who stutter. A very important role of TISA is that it provides a way for fellow stutters to meet each other by creating SHG’s or Self Help Groups. So there is a SHG for every major city in India which is a group of people of stutter, these groups meet every week at the decided place and do some activities which help them to improve their speech.
I got to know about TISA from google, I got the contact numbers from which I was able to contact the administrators of TISA. I got to know that there was no SHG in my city so I volunteered to start one. That happened around 7 years ago and now Jaipur has an active SHG with around 5–10 members. That is still a small number as compared to Delhi and Bangalore SHG’s which have a lot more members.
Another lesson TISA taught me was to accept my stutter and to accumulate the courage to experiment with my speech. Because of the same I noticed a significant difference in my speech and was able to experience more sessions of fluent speeches and conversations.
Being a hard stutter I never thought that I will be voluntarily giving presentations or public speeches, but fortunately my that misconception got broken in my college days where I started to participate in inter college paper presentations and other extra curricular activities.
My speeches were very confident and presentable there. Turns out the famous old saying, “Where there is a will there is a way.” actually makes sense.
I have read about stammering and observed it for a long time. Thus, I have a lot of knowledge about the same but that can never replace the practice one needs to be able to speak fluently and confidently. So I would like to utilize the stage provided by Kormangala Toastmasters club to experiment with my speech and try to become a better speaker.