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Fluent Talk on Stuttering

The following is a homespun reenactment of an “Ignite Talk” I gave recently in Austin, TX. Cameras were rolling at the event; however, the video will not be posted online for weeks. So … I’ve recorded a video of my slides (advancing every 15-seconds) with a voice-over of the key points I shared during my talk.

The title of my talk was FLUENT TALK ON STUTTERING. Watch below to learn why I’m qualified to talk fluently about stuttering.

>> YouTube video link


  • john — this is awesome!one of the things that impressed me most when we first met was that you are such an accomplished public speaker AND you are a stutterer AND you talk to people about your stuttering (i remember you telling the audience about particularly difficult words — i think you said something about those that start with “s” and then went on to talk about starbucks for 5 minutes!)it takes a lot of courage to do what you do and that’s why i’m one of your biggest fans — that, and your insights about brands aren’t bad either ;)!

  • John thank you for this! I just learned a lot. Next time we meet maybe I will buy you a beer at the Olive Way Starbucks, but I doubt they have that special one that you want (Alladash Odyssy ???). Thank you for the window into your world.Melody

  • I have always admired your “I don’t think so…” approach to life.I remember meeting you for the first time in a Starbucks marketing meeting. You wouldn’t shut-up.Later I found out this guy John had a stammer.It would seem someone with this “condition” would clam-up and avoid any opportunity to have to talk at all – let alone in front of groups.Then I found out you were a DJ in college. You constantly gave effective presentations at Starbucks… And have basically done everything a stutterer “couldn’t do.” And, today, you make a living now as a professional speaker. How’s that for an “I don’t think so…” approach?!

  • Lisa Barone says:

    Amen to you! I’m also 1 percent of the adult population that stutters (though I’m female so I think that makes me extra special ;)) so it’s nice to see this being brought into the spotlight, especially some of the “tricks” we stutterers use like word swapping and speaking louder. My stutter is far more severe than yours, but I appreciate your speaking out. It’s important.

  • Great video! My bestest friend in the 8th grade – a female – was a severe stutterer, and I wonder if she has now mitigated it using the coping tools you describe.I agree with you that it’s embarrassing and insulting to have your sentences finished by people, for the most part, and I would certainly recommend respectfully waiting in 99% of situations.But I can remember one incident, when we were on a school trip – one of those situations where you’re let off the bus and all go streaming into a fast food restaurant to place an order, which creates a high-pressure situation for anyone, let alone a stutterer.My friend was at the counter trying to list the ingredients she wanted on her burger, and when she got to ketchup, she was getting NO further – it was k-k-k-k…the kid behind the counter was looking at her expectantly, half our classmates were in line behind her, and she sent me a DESPERATE appeal with her eyes.I blurted out ‘KETCHUP!’ That completed her order and she was off the spot. She was grateful and we laughed about that together for months, and I remember it like it was yesterday.Bottom line – pay attention and help when it’s asked for – especially when there’s beer involved!

  • Lisa … thanks for sharing. Yes, you are special on many levels. Percentage-wise, men are much more likely to be stutterers than women. There are so many other little tricks I use to minimize/mask my stutter. Just so you know, my stutter is much more pronounced when speaking one-on-one with someone, in small groups and when speaking on the phone.

  • Cynthia … your friend signaled for help. It’s quite alright to help a friend when they ask for it. Because of the cacophonous ‘K’, ketchup is a hard word for us to say.Ordering at a restaurant is tough. Because time was tight, I couldn’t talk about how one can’t word swap when ordering food because you’ll end up with something easier to say but usually far less tasty to eat.

  • Lisa Barone says:

    Ordering at restaurants is difficult. It’s especially difficult when you’re stuck and the server looks at whomever you’re there with for help, almost expecting them to finish your sentence so that everyone can get on with their life. I’ve had friends who finished my sentences when they could feel I needed it and then those that finished them without realizing I might not appreciate it. I think it’s really important that you tell people how you want them to react because, in most cases, they really don’t know what’s “right” and “wrong” in terms of etiquette. That said, I don’t think I’ll ever get my mother to do stop doing it, even if it means the conversation is twice as long because she never guesses correctly and then I have to start over. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • jimbeetle says:

    Great stuff, John, thanks.You hit just about every point stutterers identify with. For me, that danged yellow phone is still my main nemesis, well, along with trying to wrap my tongue around nemesis.The choral effect is very interesting. Back when I was a teenager a parish priest put it to use, without being aware of it, of course, when he urged me to become a lector at mass. I usually worked the overflow masses in the school auditorium, which was not wired for sound, so I had to learn how to speak to the folks in the back.I’m still pretty good from a platform today — as long as I can’t see the microphone.

  • Jason Crouch says:

    Hi John – Terrific presentation! One of my closest friends growing up had a severe stutter, although he later mastered many of the workarounds you mention here. I’d be happy to buy you an Allegash Odyssey sometime, especially since we are apparently the same age. I turned 40 in August. ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep up the good work!

  • Thanks Jason, I appreciate you watching the video and commenting. Now, don’t be surprised if I take you up on your gracious offer.

  • Keri Morgret says:

    I also think it’s valuable to let us non-stutterers) know how you would like us to act. It can also be awkward for us to ask, especially if we don’t know you well.I remember one of the first times I met Lisa I wasn’t sure of the etiquette. I watched the people she worked with and knew well, and they didn’t finish her sentences, so I tried not to as well. (Lisa — hope I’ve succeeded with that halfway decently).Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Pam Mertz says:

    This was a great post and video. Thanks for sharing it. I am a woman who stutters, and like Lisa said in a previous comment, most people don’t seem how to react. I have had people laugh, look away, finish my words, – which I hate too – and generally make me feel defective in their eyes. I have come a long way from when I would hide it all costs, and now I pretty much stutter openly and freely. I rarely use techniques. Sometimes I am mild and other times I can really crush or block on a word.So I thingh this was great – easy to understand, very matter-of-fact and educational. Great job!