Before I joined the McGuire programme at age 24 I had developed my own techniques for hiding my stammer. Such techniques I thought were working pretty well. Over the years I had managed to hide my speech problem, moving from an overt to a covert stammerer.
My tricks and word-foolery were so refined that my friends didn’t realise I even had a problem with my speech. By scanning ahead and swapping words around, by rarely using the telephone and by never pushing myself to speak out I was able to keep a lid on my speech problems.
If I was unable to swap words around I’d empty all of the air from my lungs, tense my rib cage and force the word out. More often than not this trick worked and the listener didn’t notice anything unusual.
In attending my first McGuire course it took the first day video to convince me that I really did have an issue with my speech. Clever questions were asked that meant I was unable to swap words around and resort to my usual tricks. All was laid bare and I was brought down from my ivory tower to face reality.
I was fairly broken after that first session but knew I was ready to be rebuilt with the help of expert coaching and guidance. More importantly, I was surrounded by a room full of people who knew exactly what it was like to live your life in fear and avoidance and how to turn things around.
Since that first course in October 2008, I have enjoyed another 5 courses in the UK and Australia. The beauty of the programme is how far-reaching it is.
I’ve been able to migrate almost as far from home as possible and am still surrounded by the McGuire family. Helping me control my speech is only one of many benefits I’ve received from the course. The programme’s aim is eloquence.
Since joining I have learnt various techniques that have enabled me not only to control my speech but to become a confident speaker. I have joined public speaking groups and drama classes and have been able to get a handle on the negative thinking that often permeates the lives of those who stutter.
In summary, I feel the programme found a somewhat shy, confused, exhausted individual and wrenched out of him the confident, eloquent person that lies within us all.