My stammer is fairly mild and not usually much of a problem. However, I had agreed to take on a role – as captain of a sports club – which was going to require a lot of social public speaking. This was causing me anxiety, especially because a speech I had had to make as a stand-in in this context hadn’t gone well. From experience I know that anxiety aggravates my stammer.
Nicky helped me to think about the issues better. She helped me to see that attempts to conceal my stammer and avoid certain words made me defensive and anxious. She encouraged me to say what I wanted and to accept some stammering as just being part of me. She helped me to focus on the positive purposes of the speeches I would have to make, such as sharing information, enjoying humour, expressing appreciation, promoting a charity.
Nicky also provided me with some useful techniques, both for relaxation and for easing access to certain sounds to reduce the risk of blocking. Finally, she served as an audience for speech rehearsal, enabling me to make mistakes and learn from them. In particular she helped me to raise and vary my tempo and to be more upbeat.