The Tricks"

This article by Chris Roach originally posted on a website was retrieved from The Wayback Machine

  • Ask someone else to communicate for you. Find any excuse why you can't.

  • Call in sick. Be late. Cough. Choke. Sneeze. Gag. Go to the bathroom. Walk away without explanation. Flee. Anything to avoid the stuttering.

  • Write first. Send an e-mail. Post a note. Leave the entire content of your message in writing, so when you talk by phone later, there's nothing to say but, "I assume you got my message? Any questions?" (The key: make sure your initial messages answers every question!)

  • Be a ventriloquist - let your props be your dummy. Flipcharts, scripts, overheads, outlines, Power Point - anything the listener can follow instead of your mouth.

  • Call during lunch. Call after hours. Call when they're on vacation. Leave a voice mail - but only when you're sure they won't be there!

  • Talk to a secretary. Leave a message. Give them a cryptic version to pass on to the intended party. All they will care about is the message - not you. And forget to leave your phone number. If pressed, give them the wrong one - but numbers you can pronounce fluently!

  • Use a foreign phone - cell phones, mobile phones, even a microphone. It makes your slow, deliberate speech for that medium appear normal.

  • Answer incorrectly. Pretend you don't know. Even easier - never respond as if you didn't hear.

  • Lie! Play Walter Mitty - a different name, a different occupation. Anything you can pronounce fluently.

  • Be animated. Use gestures. Distract the listener with your hands, your eyes, your face, your shoulders, and your arms. Anything to compete with the stuttering. Anything to orchestrate the listener's urge to fill in - without suspicion.

  • Use synonyms as if your name was Roget. Switch from active voice to passive voice. Be colloquial. Be casual, informal, cavalier. Use first names for executives, titles for clerks. Pour on the acronyms. Know nicknames. Know faddish labels. No matter what you do - do it quick and always pick the fluent choice - regardless how silly the outcome (for it always beats the stuttering.)

  • Be funny. Use humor. Laugh uncontrollably in the middle of the joke. People love that! They'll never notice the stuttering. But they'll think you're a riot!

  • Walk-in and walk-up without hesitation. Be friendly, talkative and instantly familiar with every audience - comprised of one or hundreds. Why? When the stuttering finally surfaces, your confidence will make them stop and think twice rather or not you really could be retarded??

  • Hit a bad spell and the stuttering becomes obvious? Keep talking. . . and talking. . . and talking. Somewhere in there has got to be some intelligent comments and a fluent string of words. It will leave them with the impression that at least that stutterer wasn't dumb!

  • Finally, follow Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" Ask people a simple question about themselves and sit back and listen - they'll talk for hours and find you to be a fascinating conversationalist - because you're interested in them. (He! He! They'll never imagine that you stutter!!)