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From: Russ Hicks
Date: 12 Oct 2009
Time: 11:00:55 -0500
Remote Name: 22.214.171.124
Hello Jeremy, It's been said that communication is less than 30% verbal. The remaining 70% is composed of all sorts of other things including facial expression, eye contact, gestures, vocal variety (loud, soft, fast, slow, pauses, etc.), general stage presence like confidence and the ability to engage an audience. It also includes listening - which people who stutter are notoriously lousy at doing. "Let's go around the table and introduce ourselves...!" Do we listen to what other people are saying? NO! We get so wrapped up in our own fears of stuttering, that we don't think about anything else. .... We've all had teachers in school who were totally fluent but were terrible communicators. They could put you to sleep in five minutes. B-O-R-I-N-G-! The ability to communicate is a LOT more important that speaking the words fluently. People DO care about effective communication but amazingly enough they tend to filter out a lot of disfluencies. The IDEAS that you are trying to communicate will register in your listener's brains, not whether or not you were totally smooth and fluent in saying your words. .... To be sure, fluency and communication are related. If your stuttering is really severe and you jump up and down on one foot, turn red in the face, and struggle like crazy to say your words, those struggles will become part of the communication message. If you're uncomfortable with your stuttering, your audience will pick up on that and will mirror you own discomfort. But if you're open about your stuttering and reduce your own struggles and discomfort in your words, your communication ability will improve markedly. Then you can concentrate on improving that magic 70%. Smile! Maintain good eye contact. Listen. Engage your audience. That's good communication! .... Does this answer your question, Jeremy? I hope you're enjoying this wonderful online conference!