SPEAK EASY inc. - Canada's Organization For People Who Stutter - presents:
USING THE TELEPHONE
Many people, whether they stutter or not, have difficulty using the telephone. Because you are communicating without the benefit of face-to-face visual clues such as facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language, more importance is placed on the spoken word. This, of course, leads to greater stress for the person who stutters. But it is far better to use the telephone and stutter than to give up and avoid using the phone. The following advice may help:
General Advice
*  Confront your fear of the telephone. Talk about your fear and what you can do about it
*  Be aware of situations where you avoid using the phone and gradually tackle these calls.
*  Try to be the person in your household who answers the phone. Work at desensitizing yourself to the use of the telephone.
*  Openly admit that you stutter; this relieves the pressure of trying to appear fluent.
*  Watch and listen to non-stutterers using the phone. Listen to their lack of fluency and their hesitations.
Receiving Calls
*  Always answer the call in your own time. Don't rush, and take a few deep breaths before picking up the phone.
*  Try to slide softly into your greeting.
*  Answer the phone in whatever manner contributes to your fluency.
*  If you recieve a call within earshot of other people, concentrate solely on that call.
*  Accept that others may hear and see you struggle, but do not allow their presence to distract you.
*  Your caller may also stutter. Show them the same patience that you would want.
Making Calls
*  Prepare for your call. Make sure you know why you are calling. Write the key points on paper and have them in front of you when you call.
*  If you have a number of calls to make, list them in ascending order. Start with the easiest and work you way up to the most difficult.
*  Do not keep putting off the call you need to make. That makes it even more stressful and difficult.
*  Make calls when feeling more fluent.
*  Before dialing, take several deep breaths and try to relax as much as possible.
*  Know what you are going to say; have your greeting prepared in your mind.
*  If you start to block, stutter openly, gently, and easily. Try not to force the words out; slide gently and slowly into your speech.
*  Do not worry about silences; they occur in all conversations.
*  Focus on what you have to say, rather than worry about any blocks. Pay attention to your fluency.
*  Make it a point to remember your positive conversations and to forget the negative ones.
*  If possible, tape-record your conversations and use these calls to note the circumstances of blocks and repetitions.
*  Learn from each call and use this experience to develop a strategy for the next call.
*  Telephone family, friends, and others frequently; get used to speaking on the phone.
*  Repeated practice should help to lessen anxieties about using the telephone
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