I could feel my heart beating faster - was it fear? - was it excitement? Or was it both?
I've been on air before - talking both about stammering related issues and also about non-stammering related topics. I've even been on national television. Still, the old fears of blocking whilst being live on the radio and filling the air waves with 'dead air' - this fear was definitely present!
TraxFM was the first of two stations that Jamie (Harwood) and I were scheduled to appear on - The King's Speech helping to create lots of media interest in stammering. In fact, at Trax, we were pre-recorded so that snippets of stammering information could be repeated throughout the afternoon.
The interviewer put us at our ease and away we went! We were there to talk about stammering, and I was actually pleased that I did stammer! In the past (before being open about stammering), I had heard people who stammer talking about stammering - but did they actually stammer? I couldn't hear them. Maybe I was the only one in the world!! One advantage of being pre-recorded was that we could add bits afterwards, snippets of information which we had forgotten to mention.
Jamie and I felt like old hands as we entered Sine FM - hey, we've just been on Trax. So no big deal.....except the old fears were starting to bubble up. Hmmm... interesting. I realised that lack of eye contact with the thousands of listeners was playing on my mind. The importance of eye contact for good communication is paramount for me. I don't believe in techniques. I don't use techniques. As Sheehan says - techniques are just another form of avoidance. For me, it's all about good communication, not the ability to speak without stammering. Soon we were in the studio live on air. How was it? Brilliant! We were in there for nearly half an hour. We had a good laugh, answered lots of questions, had a track from our cd 'time2talk' played, and raised awareness of stammering and the help available - including the good old BSA! The two DJs were fantastic, allowing us to say what we liked, how we liked, but also probing and asking questions that 'people out there' wanted to know. At the end a member of staff burst in to the studio and shouted "I've listened to the whole show - fantastic! You were great. You've got a great radio voice!" Jamie and I walked out feeling 10 feet tall (this was a little awkward as the doors were only 6ft 6inches).
Would we do it again? You bet
Chair - DSA (Doncaster Stammering Association)
Extended version of item in the Spring 2011 issue of Speaking Out, page 5