Guiding tips to being a GREAT listener:
- Be a good listener. Establish eye contact with the person who stutters and listen to the actual message the person is trying to communicate, even if it might take that person a bit of time.
- Avoid saying “slow down”, “take a deep breath and start again” or “take your time, no rush”. We, as people who stutter, realize it is out of your best intentions. Unfortunately, it only makes the person who stutters feel more self-conscious which gives way to their stuttering. Yes, slowing down might help them in the long run but it is certainly not the reason why they are stuttering.
- Do not finish their sentences or fill in the word that the person who stutters is struggling to say. Let them say it however way that they can so that they will continue to feel in control of their communication, no matter how disfluent. It is so very important!
- If a person speaks more than one language and you happen to understand them, please refrain from offering the person who stutters to speak a different language to ease the frustration. Stuttering manifests itself in more than one language – even if it is more severe in one language vs. another.