Stuttering and Being Confident
As a person who stutter, I was recently involved in a challenging situation and had a great lesson, which I want to share in this post. Looking for a new job as an Engineer here in Brazil, I was called few weeks ago by a great Engineering company with 15.000 employees for an interview in their facility in another state, along with 13 other candidates.
Stuttering is influenced by numerous factors, including the kind of situation. One of the worst kinds is a job interview. And another very critical one is a round of individual self presentations in a group. And what happened to me in that afternoon was both, simultaneously.
I waited for my turn concentrating the more I could in the speech techniques that effectively help me improve fluency, but knowing the situation's complexity was very high. I was going to be evaluated for a big job opportunity, and the attention of all 13 candidates and 3 supervisors in the room would be in me for those moments. When my time came, I started my speech as slow as I could, saying my name and telling they would probably notice I may stutter when I speak - which is always a good way to bring more comfort to the conversation. Before I could keep talking, one of the supervisors stopped me to make a comment I will not forget.
The man told me that months ago, in another selection process, there was a candidate they liked very much and who stuttered. Facing this condition, their director decided not to pick him. The process continued, and that candidate was picked by another department in the same company. And today he is a great Engineer there, who helps everyone a lot and is very important in his team.
Noticing this, the department that did not choose him felt really bad about their wrong criteria, concerning productivity, and learned the person's abilities for the job and what one has to say were more important than the way one speaks, and that communication could work properly even with stuttering. So he told me not to worry, and that my skills and potential for the job were the subjects to be evaluated at that moment.
What followed was I could speak really well by feeling confident, a feeling I hope more and more people who still struggle with their speech get.
Rodrigo Ribeiro Porto Alegre, Brazil
Photo from recent Academy Award winning movie "The King's Speech" in which Colin Firth impersonates Prince Albert, Duke of York/King George VI. The film details him working to overcome his speech impediment while becoming monarch of the United Kingdom at the outbreak of World War II. (Creative Commons)