Be Memorable


Pam MertzAbout the author:  
Pamela Mertz is a person who stutters who is actively involved with the global stuttering community. She has helped to facilitate workshops at many stuttering conferences, including one international one. She recently spoke at an Open Day of the Irish Stammering Association. Pam hosts the podcast “Women Who Stutter: Our Stories,” writes the blog “Make Room For The Stuttering,” and is a Stutter Social host. During the day, she works as a recruiter and career development specialist in a high school near Albany, NY.

What if I told you that being known for our stuttering is not such a bad thing? Our uniqueness can make us memorable, if we give ourselves permission to just let go and embrace what makes us different. Stuttering can make us memorable. Yes, stuttering!

I gave a talk titled “Be Memorable” at the National Stuttering Association annual conference held in Washington DC in early July 2014. I helped organize a ‘TED Talks” workshop, where 8 people gave talks about some aspect of their stuttering journey. The workshop was well attended and a great success. I received a lot of positive feedback on my talk and decided to share it here for the ISAD conference this year. I have reprised the talk in the following video.

I feel like I am taking a huge risk by contributing in video format rather than just provide written text of my talk. But I am choosing to be vulnerable and hopefully memorable. I welcome your comments and questions about my talk on being memorable. I also welcome your feedback and questions on my actual stuttering too, because after several “takes” with this video, I just decided to go for it and not re-record it for the 10th time! I think that I “stutter very well” in this video. Don’t you agree? 

Thank you for checking in here and watching my talk titled “Be Memorable.”

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Comments

Be Memorable — 115 Comments

  1. Pamela,

    Thank you for your comments and insight. As a female who stutters in a graduate speech language pathology program, remembering to be open about who I am and what I have to say is sometimes difficult. It is always a good reminder to be memorable and share our experiences with others. We have so much to share and give and I thank you for sharing yours.

    McKenzie Jemmett

    • Thank you McKenzie for your comments and for sharing that you too are a woman that stutters.
      It certainly is not easy to be open about who we are, but the alternative can be compromised authenticity, which is what I felt for so many years when I was trying to be covert.
      I’m much happier now that I’m open. It’s enriched my world in fact.
      Best to you,
      -Pam

  2. I am a second year graduate student in speech language pathology. I also have a good friend who is a person who stutters. I love to hear stories and examples off people like you who have accepted their own unique aspects. I enjoyed hearing your side of living a life as a person who stutters. We are all unique and I believe that we each need to “show off” our uniqueness. Thank you for telling us how accepting your uniqueness has been a wonderful thing for you. You truly do “stutter very well”.

    • Thanks for the kind words and the affirmation that I stutter well. I bet most people don’t think of stuttering as something we can do well, but I’d much rather stutter well (and easily) than struggle with tension and look uncomfortable.
      Good luck on your journey toward becoming a SLP.
      -Pam

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Pamela! It is truly memorable!

    I loved how you brought a fresh perspective to the idea of being remembered for stuttering. At first, I was a bit hesitant to completely agree with this idea, because as a graduate student in speech-language pathology, we often discuss the need to see our clients first as whole individuals rather than only a label. However, you made it clear that catching peoples’ attention due to your stutter has often led them to move beyond their initial interest in your stuttering to see you as a unique and talented individual. It is refreshing to think about the opportunities that stuttering could potentially afford someone rather than only focusing on the adversities that may result from stuttering.

    As a student, I am curious: have you had any experience with speech therapy for stuttering, and if so, was your experience positive or negative? Also, do you have any advice that I should consider as someone who will work with people who stutter in my future career as an SLP?

    All the best,

    Jamie Cronce

    • Hi Jamie – yes, I had some therapy from 2007-2009. It was fluency shaping therapy, so it wasn’t particularly helpful to me, as at the time, what I needed was to work on acceptance.
      I do have some advice I can offer. I wrote a paper for ISAD 2009 about what I learned in therapy and geared it toward SLP students. Here’s the link:

      http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/isad12/papers/mertz122.html

      Hope you find it helpful.

      -Pam

  4. Hi Pam,

    I just wanted to tell you one more time that you are such an inspiration to me. I’ve shared your article and video with many of my friends. Thank you for being the bold, brave, and loving person you are.

    Best,
    Tessa

    • Awww, Tessa, thank you so much for the huge compliment. This made my day. Cannot think of a better way to wind down the ISAD conference than to get a terrific comment like this.
      -Pam

  5. Dear Pamela,
    Thank you so much for sharing this video. I am a graduate student studying to be a SLP. I have apologized many times in my life for things that I shouldn’t have…because they were things about me that made me me. This talk was really inspiring to me to remember to not be ashamed of myself or my differences from other people. I have loved being a part of this conference and getting to learn more about PWS. I feel like this conference has really helped me know how to better shape my career goals to help others through their struggles by being able to accept themselves. This was very inspiring to me and I will strive to remember to let my future clients shine with their own unique talents and personalities. Thank you again!
    Brenna