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Introducing yourself to strangers and stuttering openly

Episode #152: The roving reporters take over! Samuel Dunsiger shares his story about recently appearing on television for the first time— and stuttering openly. We then hear from Christine Dits, the new addition to the roving reporter roster, who shares her experiences and tips when introducing herself to strangers— complete with stuttering on her name.

And I share my unfortunate circumstance of falling out of practice with maintaining eye contact. What the heck happened?! I used to be such a master at it!

Looks like I regressed to my old habits because I got out of practice. It’s back to the drawing board for myself as I take up the challenge of rebuilding my skill in maintaining eye contact.

Further thoughts

Why is eye contact important? Quite simply, eye contact shows confidence. And makes you feel confident. And feeling confident makes you feel good. And feeling good is great! Making eye contact also helps us connect with the person we are speaking to. And it feels pretty good to look into someone’s eyes. Not only do you feel accepted, but you are fully giving them your attention.

Think back to the last time you spoke with someone and that someone did not keep eye contact with you. How did you feel? I bet you felt like he or she wasn’t “in the moment” and I’ll bet you also didn’t feel connected.

What was your impression of that person? When that happens to me, I can’t help but think to myself if there is something on the mind of the person. Are they sad? What are they avoiding?

Don’t let this happen to you! It is very important to keep eye contact. Particularly if you are looking for work or a soul mate. Or even introducing yourself (after all, you don’t get a second chance at making a first impression). Sure, it can feel awkward at times and when you stutter, your body may feel like it “needs” to shut your eyes or look way in order to push your words out. But you have to try to stay in control. Break the habit of looking away and good things will happen.

If you have trouble maintaining natural eye contact and feel like you’re staring at the person you’re talking to, try just noticing their eye colour. That always helps me. It removes the pressure of doing a good job at maintaining eye contact and next thing you know you’re feeling pretty good at connecting with the other person. Stutter and all.

If the idea of looking at someone in the eye scares you, try looking around the eye. Their eyebrow, under the eye. Once you’ve mastered that, move in for the bull’s eye, so to speak.

Published in Podcast archive stuttering