Denis Wright, Regional Director of Australia and New Zealand
Ever since I remember I have had a stutter - unfortunately for me, I liked to talk a lot.
Although I can't say stuttering held me back too much, looking back at it now, I can see how it did restrict me from doing things that I know I would have enjoyed - debating, public speaking, running for class president, running for school captain, etc ,etc.
All the above, still were not the reasons I did my first course, as at the time, all those things sounded like a foolish dream anyway. The compelling reason behind joining McGP, for me, was getting a job. As soon as I finished my engineering degree, I had doors open for me, all over, for interviews, which was great, expect for the fact that when I sat down at the interview, opened my mouth to answer a question - nothing would come out. A dozen or so of these situations, trying every possible thing I could think of to survive through the interview, even resorting to taking valium pills to calm my nerves, I decided that I needed help with my speech, and all the negative things that surround it, fear, panic, anxiety, shame, guilt ...
That first Wednesday night of my first McGP course, even though I was terrified and uncertain of how could this programme possibly help me - I made a promise to myself, to commit to whatever I learn, as anything is better than sitting in an interview panel, and being a sweaty, unresponsive statue.
Years since my first course, going to multiple follow up intensive courses, attending every single monthly refresher day, joining toastmasters, attending dozens of job interviews (not just to get a job, as I managed to get great ones, but because I am actually having fun doing it), running my own businesses, being a McGP Coach, Course Instructor and now Regional Director, I can truly say I went beyond stuttering, and always find ways to push out of my comfort zones whenever I can.
Notice how I never said that I am cured of stuttering, that its forever purged from my life - it's not, and I doubt ever will be, but I have total control of my speech, I say what I want to say, I am not afraid of any speaking situation, and instead of shying away, I embrace any opportunity to expand my comfort zone.
For those who are interested, I have youtube video of my first course, before and after, you may also find other videos further down my life.