Come Out at Work: With a Stutter
What do Samuel L. Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Tiger Woods, Winston Churchill and Aristotle have in common?
They’ve all stuttered.
So the subject in the following scenario is in good company:
Tyrone is an analyst in an investment bank, where he meets with healthcare organizations to pitch strategic advisory services. He’s well-liked, produces well-organized pitch books, and when it comes time to present to his clients, he gets anxious and stutters.
Tyrone decided to meet with an executive coach to work through his stutter on the job. He related that the prospect of stuttering makes him anxious, and his anxiety causes him to stutter, so he gets caught in a frustrating loop of anxiety and stuttering. Lately he’s kept quiet during client meetings, a less than satisfactory resolution.
What can Tyrone do?
Because we’re advocates of revealing your whole self at work, we encourage Tyrone to come out and speak to his stutter. For example, when beginning his presentation, he may find comfort by simply saying, “Just so you know, sometimes I stutter. Thank you for your patience with me.”
Acknowledging what people may already know could help everybody focus on the content of his words, rather than how he’s saying them. And the relief Tyrone would subsequently feel may prevent further stuttering.
Ultimately, demonstrating comfort in his own skin will increase his confidence, which in turn may help sell the services he’s working so hard to pitch.
Coming up: Career advancement, meet Tyrone.
Image of Tiger Woods via
Date: January 23, 2012