Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Work Phone Call

Whenever I give a work contact or client my phone number for the first time, I feel obliged to "warn" them that I stutter. I do this to avoid an awkward or unpleasant first contact that might sully what could otherwise be a good relationship.

Every time I do this, my pride takes a hit. Admitting your flaws to a stranger hurts. Doing it every couple of days hurts even more. That said, I know it's the right thing to do. I can't let stuttering sabotage my business.

I thought this post would end in a question, but I can't really think of one. Any comments, dear reader?


  1. I thought it was a professional move to tell me before we talked. That being said, I don't think your stutter impeded our conversations on the phone. You've got good stuff to say. I'm more interested in that. I don't think I'm alone.


  2. Thanks, Bill. I needed that.

  3. Hi Mark, I have to admit to stuff on the phone all the time and it always gives a sort of sinky feeling. I feel like I have to admit to gaps when I do phone interviews (like when I'm writing a story about a town I've never even been to and have to keep asking them how to spell it), but I find that laughingly coming clean early on sets people at ease and helps things move along. People respond better when they don't sense a bluff, so being honest is good. You've always been good at projecting confidence and, even judging just by our phone conversations, that comes across.

    Have you watched Barter Kings? One of the main guys has Tourette syndrome and it regularly snags his negotiations. He just briefly explains, laughs it off, and moves forward. If anything, it gives him an edge a lot of time.

    I think being able to handle stuttering the way you do makes you more likeable and memorable in business. Remember how we were in school from eighth grade through senior year and it was junior year before I ever even realized you stuttered? Hope that helps!

  4. Mark...I think about doing this all the time on the phone. Ive been accused of being "shaddy", or "stumbling on my words to convince a customer to buy something". It infuriates me because on one level I believe I should NOT have to admit to having a disability everytime I get on phone, and others I feel it would help. Like the time I was trying to explain what was going on with a customer's bike and she turned around and wrote an email to my boss saying I was "fumbling with his words trying to convince me my bike wasnt right", which my boss in turn took her side, even after having explained my stuttering to him months before!

    its tough, and I commend you for being up front. If only speaking came as easy as writing does, or for me...speaking another language. I studied 4 in college because I dont stutter when I speak other languages. Japanese is fun!

    I look forward to reading more of your blog! And thanks for the follow @snycycservices!

  5. I can understand how it must be really hard to tell strangers something so personal and what may be a sensitive subject. I applaud you in your ability to do this. There are things everyone has trouble with but some things are easier to hide than others. However, don't let this get you down. You may stutter, but you still are extremely intelligent (I can tell by your writing) and you're just as capable as anyone else to accomplish your goals. God created you for a purpose and allowed you to end up unique and special, different than anyone else. Next time you're feeling bad just replace that thought with a truth. "I stutter, but so what, I rock and I'm going to win the day." -Jenna