3 Basic Rules of Self-Advertising Your Stuttering

Self-Advertising, or Self-Disclosure, is a powerful tool for people who stutter. For those unfamiliar with the concept, self-advertising is telling someone you stutter. If you find yourself getting caught up worrying about what others are thinking about your stuttering, think about how talking might be different if the listener only knew you stuttered. This is just how you talk! We’ve been teaching people who stutter about self-advertising for a long time now, but we often realize it’s the basics we need to talk about most.

3 Basic Rules of Self-Advertising Your Stuttering

1. Call it “Stuttering”

Many people, when referring to their stuttering, will call it a speech problem, a speech impediment, a stammer, etc. Help out the listener by letting them know the actual name of the actual problem. They may not understand stuttering fully, but at least you’ve named it. This helps to avoid confusion about the best way for your listener to refer to it.

2. Don’t Apologize! 

Sometimes it’s a knee-jerk apology, and it can be tough to avoid. Remember though, you didn’t choose to stutter. It’s not your fault. You don’t owe anyone an apology. Tell them you stutter, maybe tell them what that means, and do so as assertively as you can.

3. Keep it Simple! 

You want the listener to know you stutter, and you want to experience the benefits of knowing they know… but it’s usually not necessary to go beyond the essential information.

Examples of self-advertising

John, a doctor in a hospital, visiting a new patient on his daily rounds:

“Hi Mrs. Doe, I’m Dr. S-S-Ssssssmith. You might notice I stutter. It has nothing to do with your case. It’s just how I talk. Now, let’s talk about your blood pressure.” 

Anna, at the grocery store. She doesn’t have her rewards card and is prompted by the cashier to provide a phone number:

“Sure, but first I should say I actually stutter, and saying numbers are particularly hard for me. Thanks in advance for your patience.” 

Patrick, at the beginning of a job interview, is prompted to tell the interviewer about himself:

“Okay. Before I begin I’d like to mention that you might notice I stutter. Basically, that means it takes me a bit longer to get a word out from time to time. As you might have seen in my resume, I finished college in 2008, and…”

Interested in other blog content related to self advertising? Check out Michael’s experiences as a teacher who stutters, MaKenna’s suggestions for becoming more comfortable talking about stuttering, and Jon Paul’s experiences with the subway challenge.

The American Institute for Stuttering is a leading non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide universally affordable, state-of-the-art speech therapy to people of all ages who stutter, guidance to their families, and much-needed clinical training to speech professionals wishing to gain expertise in stuttering. Offices are located in New York, NY and Atlanta, GA, and services are also available Online. Our mission extends to advancing public and scholarly understanding of this often misunderstood disorder.

By |2018-11-27T16:16:23-05:00August 21st, 2018|Acceptance, Self-Advertising|3 Comments


  1. Geoff Johnston August 22, 2018 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    Your article describes “disclosures” which is only one way of advertising we have a stutter. Stuttering on purpose (voluntary stuttering) is perhaps the the most powerful strategy to reduce the fear of stuttering. By not trying to hide our stutter but rather putting it out there deliberately, the social/performance anxiety and fear of being judged is reduced. Stuttering under control rather than out of control, is very empowering and communication is far more effective. We all know what happens when we TRY to be fluent!

    • Carl Herder August 27, 2018 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Geoff, you make a good point about voluntary stuttering and I agree it can be a great way to get stuttering out there so both you and the listener can acclimate to it. Regarding your second comment about stuttering under control, however, we’ve met lots of people who only stutter harder when they try to stutter on purpose. Many of these people benefit more from letting the “ugly” stuttering out, and desensitizing to that, before they are able to voluntarily stutter in any sort of controlled way.

  2. […] Be Open: Worried someone might be confused or caught off guard by your stuttering? Let them know you stutter and that it takes you extra time to speak sometimes. There’s a lot of good information on this topic, but check out some of the research on self advertising and also some basic tips. […]

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