Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Progress

I have begun to tackle my fear of answering the phone at work. And by so doing, I have even had the pleasure of having incidences where I was completely fluent and was not forced to use "tricks" to get through it. Most answer the phone simply by saying the unit they've reached and then saying, "This is Mary" or some similar combination of words used to identify themselves.

What I've been doing is using my own combination of words. Sometimes I'll leave out parts of the greeting that are difficult to say. For example, I might simply say, "Hello, this is Tony". Or I might simply say, "Intensive unit". Once, I had to pretend I forgot what unit I was on, "This is Tony...um, where am I? Oh, yeah, Intensive." I could sense a block coming...and the feigned forgetfulness is all that was necessary to get through.

Don't get me wrong, every single time the phone rings on the unit, my throat almost closes up and my anxiety level skyrockets, but I'm finding it less and less scary the more I do it.

Recently, one of the kids called me out on my stuttering. "You stutter!" and it kinda took me by surprise, but it didn't really bother me. In fact, in a strange reverse-psychological-moment sort of way, I was able to explain stuttering to the kid while being completely fluent. Go figure.

Anyway, that's my story for today. Now, I have to go dig my car out of the snow before work. *sigh*

7 comments:

Greg said...

I think what you're doing is great (by tackling the fear-of-phone) as well as writing about it.

But here's my thought... any use of "tricks" always made it worse for me. It added yet-another-variable in which I didn't really have any control over. Further, it just exacerbated my stuttering secondaries. After I got into volitional stuttering did this really get better.

I'd suggest giving it a whirl. If stuttering for us isn't optional, might as well stutter in a controlled and purposeful fashion...

Greg
http://Stuttering.me

Stuttering Stanley said...

Yikes! If I really did volitional stuttering, I would scare everyone away. It's not conducive for any part of my life, professional or personal. Greg, I have heard of this and I've heard it's very liberating on some levels...but it would be devastating to my professional life. I mean...I can't walk into the hospital with my kids and just start stuttering! None of them would be able to focus on anything...but how ridiculous I sound!

Please elaborate? :)

thaddeus said...

I know how it is having to work and answer the phone.Somtimes i wont aswer the phone at all other times i do it all depends on how confident i am that day and where my heads at. Ive got it down to be able to answer the phone without stuttering, took me a while to figure out the right sentencing so far saying "Warehouse this is thaddeus" and it works just fine.But i only say that when i get put in charge of the warehouse and clients call.When a sales rep or somone from the building calls ill just saying yes, and the persons name.
I used to have anxiety about answering the phone but i dont anymore.

Anonymous said...

I missed your blog and decided to check once more! I'm glad you're back writing. I wonder if using a TDY (I think that's the right letter combo--for the phone set up you would have if you were deaf and needed to type to use a phone) set up would help at all for some situations. Anyone use this set up?
Lynne

Mike said...

Just checking up on your blog again.

With regards to the phone issue... I was terrified with it last year but I've just had to use it so often now that I've overcome it.

If I find myself being in a block for a few seconds I just say "excuse me but I have a slight speech impediment".. The people on the other side of the phone are trained to be nice so the response is usually always kind. I tend to find that when I tell them this I can speak a lot more fluently. It's a little ridiculous!

Was a case where I was stuttering really badly and the second after I told her about the speech impediment I was fluent for the rest of the call...

Would be interesting to know the science behind it.

Jenna said...

I have an issue I'm currently dealing with and I'm trying to read up on what other people do to overcome this peroblem. I use to work at a Dentist Office and I literally quit because I couldnt leave messages, the words wouldnt come out. Even in school if a paragraph started with a certain letter and it was my turn to read I would sit there and not say a word untill i spit it out. I do not stutter on a daily basis and I have no problem talking AT ALL. The only thing that I have trouble with is answering phones! I've been working in an office for the past year and I answer phones all day long and I got over the fear... so I thought. It's back and I dont know what to do, it's terrible. I even tried to say goodmorning, or good afternoon before I say the rest and it worked for me for a while, untill now. I don't know what to do...

Stuttering Stanley said...

Jenna,

I haven't heard much about selective stammering/stuttering to the narrow degree that you seem to suffer, but I would definitely seek out a counselor or a speech therapist for an assessment of some kind. If it's interfering with your professional life, I think you should seek out professional advice. I wish you well!