Before I was introduced to Ross Barrett, I was your average stutterer. I had gone from therapist to therapist hoping to find that "magic cure" (which I now know is non-existent) for my stuttering. Each time, I was perfectly fluent for that one hour each week in the therapist’s office, but as soon as I left, my speech would deteriorate. After several attempts with speech pathologists, I even tried hypnosis, biofeedback, a sugar-free diet, and a myriad of other hopeless methods to improve my speech. At this point, I probably knew some elements were missing that would make the difference. The program had to be intensive and all-inclusive, and most important, I had to be motivated. I did not know any fluency programs that satisfied the first criterion, and I needed just one incident to make me realize that my speech was really a handicap.
Then that one incident finally came. I was searching for an internship in Finance the summer between my first and second year of MBA school. I interviewed with six different firms and I received six different rejection letters. My illusion was shattered because I thought that being second in my MBA class and maintaining a 3.9 GPA would be enough for an interviewer to overlook my speech. To make matters worse, my speech had deteriorated so much that when I ran for president of the MBA Association, I gave a 3 minute speech in 10 minutes. I lost and ended up being Vice President. My friends have recently told me that I probably would have won if I hadn't given a speech. Around the time, I saw Talk to Me and an article in Parade Magazine, and I knew that this program might just be the answer.
That spring I arrived in Norfolk. With the guidance of Ross, the support of the other clients, and my determination and motivation (and not magic), I left the program with controlled speech, a renewed confidence in the future, and a bright outlook on life. However, I did not want to take my newly-controlled speech for granted, so I decided to put as much pressure on myself to monitor in both easy and difficult situations. Consequently, I contacted a local TV station, and a Health Anchor did a story on my battle with stuttering. This not only informed other people in Tampa, but it also put more pressure on me to monitor since I went "public" about the program. Also, I joined a fantastic organization called Toastmasters International, which is a club designed to improve public speaking skills. This group not only gave me a unique forum in which to monitor my targets, but it also helped me improve my horrendous speaking using skills learned through therapy at EVMS. Finally, I seized every opportunity I could to speak in front of groups. The combination of these three opportunities has allowed me to achieve a fluency rate beyond my wildest dreams.