Hector shares his experience at the recent AIS Public Speaking Workshop.
I decided to participate in AIS’s Public Speaking workshop because I wanted to gain more confidence in my public speaking. My job requires me to speak a fair amount, and while I’ve gotten better at it over time, it still doesn’t feel…right. We were tasked to produce a speech focusing on “Persuasive and Humorous Speaking.” I delayed writing my speech until the day of the workshop because I was nervous about over preparing. When I started jotting down ideas, I knew that I wanted to make my speech humorous by using observational comedy. As persons who stutter, we’ve all been in uncomfortable situations, like dating. I took a pre-existing experience with speed dating, embellished a few details, and wrote a skeleton of my final speech on a 4×6 index card. By the time my skeleton was finished it was a complete mess. I had blurbs written in shorthand with arrows going to and fro. I practiced a few times and each time the script changed a little. I crossed out some lines, made some more arrows, and filled practically all the whitespace on the card with my words.
By the time I was called up on stage, my heart was pounding. But I had my index card! It was like a warm blanket. It would save me!
When I got up on stage, I realized I couldn’t read any of what I had written. I have really, really bad handwriting. Like atrocious.
But I got through the best way I knew how–by being myself!
Hector is an internal medicine physician and clinical researcher in the Bronx, NY who has stuttered since childhood.
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.