My secret at work: I stutter

Thanks Diversity Council Australia for the guest blog opportunity to help educate the business community about stuttering.

If you would like to chat about stuttering awareness in your workplace, please contact me at

By Vikesh Anand, National President of the Australian Speak Easy Association, Australia’s peak body supporting people who stutter.

‘How was the weekend?’

‘Yeah good’

‘Get up to much?’

‘Not really, you?’

(Phew, avoided having to say too much there.  Let’s see how the rest of the day goes …)

‘Hey Vikesh, great job on that presentation today. ‘

‘Thanks mate.’

(I don’t even remember how the presentation went today.  I was so focused on my stutter –  or trying to avoid the stutter – that I just read the PowerPoint slides and hoped it was enough.

And now, conference call time. This should be fun…)

‘Thanks everyone for joining.  Let’s do some quick intros before we begin.’

‘V-v-vikesh here.’

(Can hear some chuckles. Someone saying, ‘Dude, did you forget your name?’… )

If only I could just tell my colleagues that I didn’t forget my name, it’s just the way my words come out.  I have a stutter!  It’s not that easy.  Greater than the fear of stuttering on my name (or anything else for that matter) is the fear of judgment.  If people find out I stutter, they may think I’m less intelligent, nervous or lying to them; all of which are not true. 

Living with a stutter is sometimes like a secret spy mission.  I go through the day hoping no one catches me stuttering on a word, or even worse: the silent block when the mouth is open but no words can escape.  I scan my words in real time as I talk and try to change any potentially problematic words to an easier word, which sometimes may not actually make sense.  I’m trying to live in the 99% fluent world because I am part of the 1% of people who stutter. 

What can you do if you work with someone who has a stutter? 

  • Listen and wait for the person to finish
  • Don’t try to finish their sentence
  • Maintain eye contact, even if the person is stuttering
  • Focus on the content, not the delivery

Stuttering is as unique as our DNA, so have a conversation with the person about stuttering and see what accomodations they would like related to their speech.

They’ll thank you for listening. For really, listening …

For more see:

Facing the Stigma of Stuttering

Very insightful video into our world of stuttering.  Accompanying article More Than a Habit: Understanding the Mystery of Stuttering.

“From the outside, stuttering seems simple. The listener hears a disruption in speech like the repetition or extension of part of a word, or sees that the speaker is unable to speak for a short period. Many people experience stuttering as children, but most outgrow it.

From the inside, stuttering is vastly more complex. It is a condition that can have lasting effects…”

Stutter Social Introduction

Stutter Social connects people who stutter through group video chats. Google Hangouts is used for the video chats that has a limit of 10 participants, including the host. If the room is full, please keep trying as some people join and leave the discussion for short periods of time depending on their schedule. 

The Hangouts link will be posted to the Stutter Social Facebook page at the starting time of the scheduled chat.

My time slot will be the last Monday of each month starting tomorrow 24th June at 7:30pm Brisbane QLD time zone. 

Check out for more information. 

Stutter Social New Host

24th June, 7:30pm QLD time, Stutter Social video chat hosted by me! I’m excited to be a new host for the Stutter Social family! What is Stutter Social? As the name implies, it’s for people who stutter to be social and meet other people who stutter through a group video chat. I didn’t meet someone else who stutters until I was 28, so there is empowerment in knowing you’re not alone. Check out for more details.

#stutter #stuttering #stammer #stammering #stutteringawareness #stammeringawareness #stuttersocial