Stuttering and Facilitation – Episode 12

In this episode, Beth chats with Maya Chupkov of the Proud Stutter podcast about facilitators who stutter. They talk about how groups might perceive stuttering and what to do about that, strategies that facilitators who stutter might use when working with groups, and the benefits people might experience when working with a facilitator who stutters.

Beth and Maya also explore:

  • different types of stutters
  • respecting a person’s wishes to talk about their stutter or not
  • a facilitator’s considerations around acknowledging their stutter to a group
  • strategies to deal with people’s misconceptions around stuttering
  • how we encourage verbal diversity and diversity in general in the work of facilitation

Engage with Maya Chupkov and Proud Stutter

Other Links from the Episode

Connect with the Facilitating on Purpose Podcast

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Podcast cover art by Emily Johnston of Artio Design Co.
Podcast production services by Mary Chan of Organized Sound Productions

Show Transcript

[Upbeat music playing]

[Show intro]
Beth
Welcome, to Facilitating on Purpose, where we explore ideas together about designing and facilitating learning. Join me to get inspired on your journey to becoming and being a great facilitator wherever you work. I’m your host, Beth Cougler Blom.

[Episode intro]
Beth
Hello, thank you so much for being here. My guest today is Maya Chupkov. Maya is the host, editor, producer, and creator of Proud Stutter. That’s a podcast about shifting the narrative around stuttering, one conversation at a time. In the conversation that I have with Maya, she is so generous in sharing with me her experience as a woman who stutters who also does facilitation work. We talk about strategies, we talk about struggles, and we talk about benefits that actually a group might experience if and when they work with a facilitator who stutters. As a stuttering advocate and a community organizer, Maya is working to shift societal norms around stuttering, and I think in this conversation – I hope in this conversation – that she and I are going to do some work to shift societal norms around verbal diversity in facilitation.

I think you’re going to be interested in listening to this conversation whether you have a stutter or not, because you might be working with someone who stutters, as a co-facilitator perhaps, and at some point in the future you are likely going to, as a participant, work with a facilitator who has a stutter. So this topic is related to all of us in all the work that we do when we gather together with groups. So I hope you find this conversation valuable. Enjoy the show.

Beth
Maya, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. It’s great to have another chat with you.

Maya Chupkov
So excited to be here.

Beth
I first found out about you through my friend Mary. Mary Chan is my audio editor, people may have heard me talk about her before. But I was really excited when you appeared on Mary’s podcast to talk about verbal diversity, and particularly stuttering as one aspect of verbal diversity. And I must admit, I’m sort of almost embarrassed to admit this, but I really hadn’t, as a facilitator, thought about verbal diversity before. And you two weren’t talking about facilitation but when I listened to your episode about stuttering and its relationship to podcasting, I immediately in my own brain went, Oh my gosh, facilitation, stuttering and facilitation. I really wanted to reach out to you and explore that topic with you. So thank you so much, again, for being here and being willing to come along on this conversation with me about something that I think is near and dear to your heart, and who you are.

Maya
Yeah, and I’m really excited because facilitation is something I do for my day job. And so it’s really fun to kind of explore these two intersecting things that I do like all the time. [chuckles]

Beth
Exactly. And when you told me that after we reached out, I was so you know, even more thrilled that you have been and are a facilitator and you also are a person with a stutter. And so I’m really excited to explore what this means for us, for facilitators who also might have a stutter or some other, I suppose, similar aspect of verbal diversity. But also maybe we’ll talk I think a little bit about the participant side, you know, working with and being facilitated by someone with a stutter as well. I’d love for you to tell us just a little bit about your podcast first – Proud Stutter – and just generally what you’re hoping to achieve with it. Just so people know that you have that podcast as a resource as well.

Maya
Sure. So Proud Stutter is a independent nonprofit podcast. Our fiscal sponsor is Independent Arts and Media and the show launched on International Stuttering Awareness Day on October 22, 2021. So I’ve been doing it for a little over a year now. And it’s really about shifting the narrative around stuttering so people who stutter are more understood and accepted in society. I think stuttering is one of the most misunderstood disabilities. And a lot of the reason is because there’s just so much…there aren’t a lot of positive and positive portrayals of people who stutter in media and pop culture. And so I think stuttering is just something that we don’t really see all the time. And us, as a people, we don’t really understand that there are so many different types of stuttering. And so Proud Stutter is a really, it’s a platform for people who stutter to share their stories. And it’s also a place where people can learn about stuttering through conversations. And the guests I have on there they range from, you know, CEOs to big businesses to bus drivers. Like it’s just such an eclectic group of people. And stuttering shows up in almost every community. It’s really unique in that stuttering just touches so many different cultures and cities and backgrounds. And so it’s just a really great show to not only learn about stuttering, but all the intersectionalities around it.

Beth
I very much agree and I’ve been listening to a few episodes enjoying the variety, as you say, of people that come on, and you know, thinking about what they do, and then how stuttering is related to that thing. And you mentioned, actually one of the questions I was going to ask you because I think I heard you say this in a podcast episode, that there were different types of stuttering. Is that something that’s easy to kind of quickly explain to us? How do we know what the range is? Or is it even important to know that there’s a range there?

Maya
Yeah, how I have come to understand stuttering, just from my own experience in hearing other stories, is stuttering is a spectrum similar to autism in that there are people who stutter more consistently and then there’s people who stutter like myself, you might not be aware that I stutter. I’ve become really good at hiding it. And so how I stutter, it’s more I have pauses in between my speech which comes off as kind of jaggedy. And when I say this to people that I’ve known a long time, they always say, Oh, I didn’t notice. But I notice it and so yeah, it’s it’s just something to be aware of that the rhythm of our speech is just a little off. And so the most popular type of stuttering that is seen on TV, movies, all that stuff, is repetition of consonants like ca, ca, ca, ca, or buh, buh, buh, like that is probably the most popularized way of stuttering. But there’s also a different form of stuttering called blocking, where there’s just big pauses in between words or sentences. When people have these pauses, the person listening might see it as oh, maybe they didn’t know what they were saying or something. But that is a stutter. And so I think it’s really important for people to understand that stuttering comes in different forms, and even the categories that exist now around stuttering that you can see online when you look up, if you just Google ‘types of stuttering’. But through these conversations I realized there’s just such a broader spectrum of stuttering that I don’t think the medical field really captures that whole spectrum.

Beth
I think it’s really important for us to know. I mean I’ve appreciated hearing, you know, just the few examples you’re giving here, because I think when in your further episodes I’ve been listening to, you’re raising my awareness of all of the aspects of stuttering, and it’s making me think that I think I know more people than I thought who have stutters, but maybe like your friends have said, I didn’t really realize that what they had or have is a stutter. Maybe there’s power in kind of knowing that or something. Is there? Is it important for us to know that someone has something that’s called a stutter? Because you touched on just the perception piece. You know, what are we thinking about that person with something going on with their voice? Is it important for us to know that, okay, that’s actually a form of a stutter?

Maya
Yeah, I think that’s where it gets really tricky and I’m really glad you asked that. Because there is a power in recognizing a person has some sort of speech delay, or you know, however you want to call it, stutter. It’s important that we recognize that because then we can show some grace to that, that person and maybe, you know, do more listening and less like interjecting. And that reminds me of a story where I was on our local NPR affiliate in San Francisco, KQED, there was a story about me and two other artists who stutter. Someone listened to that segment and emailed me and told me about their story. He ended up being on my show later on, he’s a bus driver in San Francisco who stutters. And before he heard me on the radio he didn’t consider himself a stutterer, because he never really thought about it. And his stutter is pretty consistent. Like, you kind of realize right away that he has a stutter. But for him, he just never thought about it that way. And so there are a lot of people you may encounter that stutter, but they just haven’t come to terms with it, or it just hasn’t been something they really want to identify as. And so there is a power in recognizing it but it’s also important to realize that not everyone wants to talk about it, and they’re not ready. So yeah, I think that’s that’s another kind of tricky piece, too, that I’ve been thinking about, even with my own experience.

Beth
Thanks for helping us realize that. It just makes me think, okay, we are all complex people who have various intersectionalities, and we don’t always want to talk about all of those things. And so we can’t put it on someone, can we? It’s like, Oh, I noticed you have a stutter, do you want to [chuckles], do you want to talk about that? As a co-facilitator or something like that. It’s really, it might be hard for us if we are working with someone who has a stutter to bring it up I suppose. We have to take their lead, do we?

Maya
Yes. And that actually brings me back, when I was in college at a networking thing and I kind of had a start I guess I stuttered when I was talking to someone and then they they pulled me aside later and asked about my stutter. At that point I was totally in the shadows, like, I did not want to talk about it at all. And I was like, really actually, like, I took offense to that. And from then on out, like, I avoided this person because I just wasn’t in that mental space to like, talk about it. And I felt like I was found out in a way. And so there is, so that’s, [chuckles] that’s like, the tricky part. And that’s why Proud Stutter’s approach is really just awareness. And people can, you know, come and just listen, they don’t have to necessarily like…You know, it’s just like a free resource for people to just know that they’re not alone. And I’ve had a few people that I’ve reached out to, and I would, I said, I’d love to interview you, your story is so powerful, and they’re like, you know, I’m not ready yet. And that’s totally okay. Like, we’re all on our own journeys with our stutter. It’s such a personal thing. And I think that’s relatable, even beyond stuttering.

Beth
Absolutely. So because you facilitate, you know, as well as you know, like, it’s one aspect of your job, you know, outside of your Proud Stutter work, you’ve got other work, don’t you that you do. So when you facilitate with groups do you tell them anything about your stutter to help them be prepared as to what to do? What to think? Is there anything you say about it? Or do you just get up and facilitate?

Maya
Yeah, so I started facilitating in my current job. When I first started, I was in charge of reconvening a group and my job was to really help guide the group to building consensus and trust and making decisions that would lead to eventually introducing a bill on the state legislature. And so at that time, so I actually launched Proud Stutter the exact same time that I started my new job. So it was actually a really great thing, because when I first convened that group, I was already out about my stutter, and I did introduce myself as someone who stuttered. But I think people were a little confused by that, because I didn’t really elaborate at all. So it didn’t really get brought up. But there were definitely moments that I stuttered a lot during that facilitation. And I definitely felt like it was getting in the way of me being successful as a facilitator. And so I think the more I do it, the more I feel like I’m getting confidence, but there are times where, especially when it’s very heated, where I feel paralyzed.

Beth
Hmm. Oh, thank you for sharing that. So do you feel that confidence, you’re mentioning it can grow along the way as you, you know, get more experienced and more practiced in your facilitation? Do you think that’s happening for you?

Maya
Yeah and I think a lot of it has to do with building relationships with people one on one in between facilitation meetings. Because I’ve found that the more I’m comfortable with the individuals in the room, and the more I feel like they trust me, and are confident in my ability to facilitate, the more I feel that if I stutter, it doesn’t paralyze me as much.

Beth
Yeah, so the tried and true, I don’t know if we want to call it a tactic but something like that, of just building relationships with your group is going to help you build the trust with them. Like they will come along with you, trusting you that you’re holding that space for them, no matter whether you have a stutter or not.

Maya
Yeah, like an internal thing that I’m still dealing with, because a lot of these individuals come from marginalized communities and communities that have been…that they’ve had to truly struggle to find their own power. Sometimes I feel like there’s a line between sharing and over sharing. Like, I don’t want them to like pity me or say like, Oh, she’s complaining about stuttering. So I think that’s more of like my internal battle. I’m slowly starting to just let that voice kind of disappear and just really trust my instincts of when it is appropriate to talk about it. And when it’s not.

Beth
Yeah, I think we all have to do that as facilitators, don’t we? Whether it’s about having a stutter or any other personal aspect of ourselves as a person, not as, you know, kind of a facilitator front. That we maybe drip feed out little pieces about us to connect with the group. And we always, there is always a line there, isn’t there, about those decisions that we’re making about how much to share and how much to keep back?

Maya
Yeah, definitely.

Beth
There’s a vulnerability to doing that, you know, as the facilitator, but are there advantages to doing that, in your eyes?

Maya
Yes, I definitely feel that the moments that I have shared about my stutter, there has been this level of understanding, like, I feel it even on a Zoom. I like feel people like understanding in a weird way. And so there have been moments where I have brought it up. Especially if I have like a big stuttering episode, during a meeting, I’ll follow up like, Oh, I’m struggling to get my words out. Like, kind of normalizing it in a way of like, just pushing through and in a natural way. So I’ve become better at when I am experiencing stuttering, I’m just like, Hey guys, I’m struggling to get my word out. Just give me a second. And then I start again. So that’s been really helpful.

Beth
And so you’re teaching the group it sounds like as you go, basically what to do if and maybe when a stutter happens. Are you? Like, yeah, you’re basically saying, you know, please wait with me.

Maya
Yeah, and it’s also kind of a benefit. Like ever since I spoke with you the first time I’ve kind of been thinking about it as like, it’s a benefit. Because sometimes when you’re in a heated debate, or you’re trying to make a decision, and I start stuttering, it allows people to like reset almost because there’s kind of like this lull in the conversation. But like those pauses, those like natural pauses that come from stuttering can actually help the group just pause and think rather than just be in that emotional space, trying to like, get a decision made fast.

Beth
Yeah! Because we know, I mean, if you’ve worked with groups you know even a little bit, you’ll see that groups want to…you know, they’ll default to sort of talking over each other or getting faster and faster. And then it becomes like only the fast people can participate. And, you know, there’s always stuff that we have to figure out what to do, as facilitators, so that we can slow people down, and everyone then has a chance to kind of enter into the conversation or whatever. So this slowing down and interjecting pauses or silence is a really good thing, isn’t it?

Maya
Yeah, it is. And it almost makes me think maybe I need to implement that [laughs] beyond my stuttering, because I never know what’s going to happen. But like, putting in some like, concrete times, at least once where, okay, like we’ve just talked about this, I think it’s time for, you know, a two minute silence. So we can, like, reset and then get back into it.

Beth
I think that’s a great idea. And I work a lot with Liberating Structures and the the one minute of silence, you know, it could be two or whatever, is in a lot of the different structures. A lot of different activities that are within that set of Liberating Structures. And, you know, basically, when I teach people about Liberating Structures, I say, you know, that one minute of silence is just really useful in so many ways. Because it allows us to think and, and then we can talk, you know, turn and talk to a partner. And but just, we need more silence like that. It’s one thing that people who are new to facilitation, if they can just learn to create a pause, create a silence like how you’re talking about, it’s a, it’s a really great thing to do.

Maya
Yeah, because I think as humans, we’re, it seems natural for us to fill in silences. So I think the more we can normalize silence, the better we’ll make decisions.

Beth
Absolutely. Yeah. It’s like a key to all sorts of things, isn’t it? Just create some space and allow people to think. [Maya: Hmm mm.] Now, you talked about people having different types of stutter. Like it shows up differently for different people. But what about the things that might trigger stuttering? Is that something that is useful for people to to know about? I mean, you might have become over time, sort of the things that might make you stutter more or have you? I guess I should ask that as a question! Have you noticed there are certain things that trigger you to stutter and would that be different also for different people?

Maya
Public speaking has definitely been a place where I feel my jagged speech comes up a lot because I’m so set on hiding my stutter when I’m public speaking. That the more I hide my stutter the more jagged my speech is and the more the rhythm is just off in my speech. So I’m really trying to not be as tense and focused on hiding my stutter when I’m speaking publicly. But that’s definitely something I’m still working on. And I think a lot of that has to do with nerves as well. I think I’ve done a lot of public speaking lately. So now I’m not as nervous about it. But there are situations at work, for example, where I have a very nerve racking meeting or something and that can trigger stuttering. And then another aspect of stuttering that can pop up too is major life changes. So during COVID, I changed jobs, and it was a really stressful job, and I was stuttering more than I ever have. I noticed that and then a totally separate stuttering trigger that I’ve heard through speaking with people, because most people who stutter, at least I think this is right, just based on the people I’ve spoken to, stuttering usually, like, pops up really early in life. But then there’s this other stuttering that can pop up via trauma or something traumatic that happened, either it feels like a car accident or something, like some brain injury. Or it could even be like emotional trauma too. I’ve spoken to like a few people that have developed stutters through emotional trauma. So the research isn’t very clear yet but it’s definitely something I’m really interested in. The last thing I’ll say about the trauma and stuttering is there is more and more speech therapists who are focusing on trauma informed therapy around stuttering. So I think that’s super interesting. I’d be more than happy to share some resources around that. Because I think that’s just fascinating to me.

Beth
Yeah, it is. I’d love to add some resources into the show notes if you want to share anything with us. Absolutely. If nerves might be a trigger for someone to cause them to stutter more, does that have to do anything with the relationship that, you know, a facilitator might have with the group? You know, there’s kind of a difference almost about working with a group for one hour, say, in a session or, you know, a three or five day workshop where you might become more comfortable with them over time. Does comfort and relationship with the group have any correlation to how much you might stutter or a person might stutter?

Maya
For me personally, I found that the more comfortable I am with someone, the more I’m just okay with my stutter. So I’m not really sure if I stutter more or less, but I just feel this calmness if I already know the group. So that is my personal experience. I can’t speak for other people who stutter because it’s, there’s definitely people who stutter that no matter if they’re comfortable or nervous or whatever, they have a more consistent stutter either way. But it does seem, at least from the people I’ve spoken with, that nervousness has a huge role in stuttering.

Beth
It makes me think of, you know, some of the things that I might do, even though I don’t have a stutter, what do I do to try to calm myself, you know, before working with a new group. I have a workshop coming up next week with a new group, and it’s a big group as well. And so I have that, you know, anticipatory worry, right, of working with this new big group. And I was thinking one of the things I could do was to, you know, I like to walk into a physical room and try to meet people first, just one on one, you know, welcoming them as they come in. And for me, that really helps decrease my worry and anxiety about working with the group. It’s, it’s, I think, part of that relationship building thing that you were mentioning before. Like if I can start to meet people one on one, then I notice my nerves lessening, and I guess, you know, people with or without stutters will always need to find those things for themselves, won’t they, that help decrease their nerves, just in general as facilitators who do this vulnerable work?

Maya
Yeah, I think it’s really important for facilitators to think about or even anyone, instead of being like, okay, am I going to have a good stuttering day or bad stuttering day? Instead of looking at like, bad and good, think about it as Okay, on a scale of 1 to 10 how okay am I feeling about stuttering? Because you could try all you want to hide your stutter but for some people it’s just not something they can control. And so I think they’re looking at it as like being okay with stuttering. And thinking of okay, so I have this facilitation thing coming up, how do I want to acknowledge my stutter to folks? Do I not? Like just thinking about like, what is going to make you most comfortable? And thinking less about what’s going to make the group. But really just thinking about, like, how is my body feeling about these different scenarios? Which is really hard to do, but it’s a start.

Beth
Yeah, starting with that own internal dialogue, isn’t it? Internal questions to ask of yourself. You know, how do I want to show up for this group or for myself and this group today? I want to take us back to that idea of a group’s perception of a facilitator. You know, whether or not they have a stutter. And one thing I’ve talked about in the past is professionalism. We need to sometimes redefine what professional looks like so that we can be more inclusive of all people who want to facilitate. Does that bring anything up for you around your facilitation and just people’s perception of you as a professional?

Maya
Yeah, that is such a huge thing that I deal with internally, especially being a woman in the workplace. And I’ve had conversations about this topic with so many women who feel that their stutter gets in the way of sounding professional, and sounding trustworthy. That’s another thing is a misconception about stuttering. There’s connections between stuttering and not being trusting of that person. Because sometimes a stutter can be conceived as being unsure. How I see facilitation is there has to be trust in the facilitator, else it’s not gonna work. And so if there’s any mistrust there then that could really get in the way of having a successful meeting. So that’s definitely it. [Sighs] Man, there’s so much. Yeah, there’s a lot of impostor syndrome that comes up for me when I’m facilitating, and I’m so grateful, because the groups that I’m facilitating now – there’s two of them – like the group has so much trust in me and so I feel very confident in those settings. But as soon as I start a new…because there’s bound to be another group coming up, and whenever I have a new group, it’s always something I’m just constantly thinking about, as are they going to, you know, misinterpret my stuttering? And so that’s why I always try to be honest upfront. Although, you know, there isn’t a whole lot of time for expanding on stuttering and talking about oh, like, I stutter, we can still, trust me like, that seems a little off. So it seems like, as a person who stutters, there’s definitely more I need to do to build trust. And that’s something that I feel it may not be true, but I do feel like I need to work a little harder than others. [Beth: Mmm. Yeah.] Which may not be true. [chuckles]

Beth
I know. And you can only know your own experience, don’t you? And because I’m, you’re sitting, you know, I’m sitting here thinking, well, we all have impostor syndrome. I have impostor syndrome. [Maya: Yeah, exactly.] You know, so but then, you know, you might have an extra challenge, but you might not, I don’t know, [Maya: Yeah!] we only know our own experience. [They laugh.] But I wonder if there’s, you know, we were kind of thinking about the work that we like, who can do the work…as you say, it’s sometimes awkward for the facilitator to kind of go on at length and say to the group, you know, here Yeah, I have a stutter. And here’s what you can do. And you know, you don’t, you don’t want to necessarily take their focus away from the real reason why you’re working with them and why they’re there to do the thing. But like, who can do the work around changing people’s perception around facilitators who are diverse in any way? You know, like, we want to make space for facilitators who are diverse from each other, right? Like that there’s a wide range of people, no matter what their intersectionalities are, that feel like they can show up and be great facilitators. Like, how do we do that work and with who?

Maya
It’s a big question and a big I think there’s a lot that needs to happen in order for that vision to to be seen. But how I’m approaching it, because there’s so many spaces where there just needs to be more awareness and facilitation is definitely one of them. There’s also like education and teaching and all these things that, you know, need that education as well. You know how I’m approaching it is just, one, through the podcast, getting as many stories out there as possible, and finding creative ways to have other people who may never heard of stuttering find the show. And that’s why I try to be as intersectional as possible, because there could be someone that has never heard of stuttering, and they listened to an episode for a different reason. And so that’s one step. Another step is through like local advocacy and getting our local governments to recognize the stuttering community. That’s another way to help build community and awareness. Because the more we do those things, the more we normalize stuttering and just get it out there, the more people will feel okay about themselves, and also be activated to start talking and thinking about their stutter differently. Every new person I meet that says that they’ve never talked about their stutter before until they either, you know, listen to the podcast, or attended an event, that is a win for me. And I’m just hoping that I can get more and more people to just come out of the shadows and at their own time, where they feel most comfortable.

Beth
I love that. And it’s making me think that, you know, maybe the people listening to this episode can do that with people in their life who stutter, to say, Can you listen to this episode about facilitators who stutter? Because, you know, maybe they’re not facilitating yet, because they’ve told themselves that that’s not something that they should or could do. And I think we’re both saying, we want everyone, you know, who is interested in facilitation to do the work of facilitation, and not hold themselves back because they have a stutter. And in fact, you know, we’re talking about advantages that people who stutter can bring to the facilitation practice, you know, pausing, silence, holding space, relationship building, there’s so much here that I think can help a person say to themselves, I always discounted that I could facilitate, but no, please do is what I’m hoping people will take out of this.

Maya
Yeah, and facilitators have such a unique role in that they’re exposed to so many new people a lot. Depending on you know, on what kind of facilitator. But if you’re kind of facilitating, you have a stutter, to all these different types of people, who knows? Maybe one of your participants will have a stutter, too, and that will be you know, help them in their own journey. So it’s just, there’s so many benefits to having more facilitators who stutter.

Beth
I think that’s where my brain was going to I was thinkinf about what you said about how your group, you know, it was full of marginalized people…who identify as marginalized. And so, you know, maybe there’s someone or more than one person in your groups saying to themselves, wow, you know, this woman is doing such a fantastic job of facilitating this group. And she’s, she’s telling us she has this, this thing that might hold her back, but it’s not holding her back. And what is it in my life that I could do, you know, whether it’s stuttering or not, like some other thing that’s holding them back that they could then overcome, right? Like you are a role model in that respect to the people and you don’t even know that you are.

Maya
Exactly yeah. That is such a great point. Like with stuttering, it kind of forces you to be vulnerable in a way because speech is the ultimate way you communicate. And when you’re communicating with someone and you stutter that’s like a very vulnerable thing to show. And so that vulnerability, even if it’s a choice or not a choice, could then help other people be more vulnerable too, which can allow for a lot of powerful things to happen.

Beth
Very much so. It’s that kind of cliché of feel the fear and do it anyway. I mean, maybe we all are doing that when we come in front of a group as a facilitator in whatever way it is for us. You know, for some people it would be showing up witha stutter and other people it’d be something else, wouldn’t it? It’s like we’re all kind of getting over something to be able to do that work. It is vulnerable. It is courageous. And there’s an excitement in that. Like when it works and you know, the thing happens and the group works well together and there’s an outcome or output or whatever. I mean, that’s pretty exciting stuff. But we got to get over that hump of like telling ourselves the story that we can do this. And we will.

Maya
Yeah, definitely.

Beth
Maya is there anything that you’d like to say, finally, to close us up here, around, you know, if there’s any facilitators out there, or people who are thinking about facilitating, any last words that you would want to share with those people?

Maya
For all the facilitators out there that, you know, either have a stutter or a speech impediment, or some, you know, some thing that might be holding them back from pursuing that, or if you know another facilitator in your life that is struggling with something, realize that the world is becoming more accepting of diversities, and verbal diversity is such an important part of that, you know, overarching community of people with disabilities. If, like, following that path is really not going to only help you but it’s, it might help others. And so really viewing it as you know, a movement and know that there’s other people out there that are also in that same space. And I’m always happy to speak with other people who stutter and collaborate even if you don’t stutter. The Proud Stutter and verbal diversity movement is all about bringing people in, both people who stutter and allies.

Beth
Thank you so much. Your podcast, you know, will continue to be a resource to me as I do hope it will be for all of us because it is an eye opening thing to first hear the concept of having verbal diversity and then continue to educate ourselves as to what that really means and how it shows up. So thank you for doing the work you do and I’ve really appreciated our conversation today.

Maya
Thank you so much, Beth. It’s been it’s been really fun.

[Episode outro]
Beth
I so appreciated my conversation with Maya and I appreciate most of all that she taught me about this important concept of verbal diversity. You heard me fully admit that I really hadn’t thought about verbal diversity as it related to facilitation before, before I heard her on my friend Mary’s podcast talking about verbal diversity in podcasting. One of the things that I think is going to stay with me forever about our conversation is that Maya was very clear that just because she has a particular experience as a woman who stutters that doesn’t mean that everyone who stutters is going to have that same experience. So we need to kind of hold that in our mind when we’re thinking about working with co-facilitators who stutter or maybe as a group member, as a participant, working with a facilitator who stutters. So, just acknowledging and expecting diversity in verbal diversity and how that presents in a person or, you know, whether they even want to talk about that is absolutely something that we all have to keep in mind. So I really thank Maya particularly for stressing that with us and making sure that came across loud and clear.

In the next episode of the podcast, I speak with Romy Alexandra. Romy is a learning experience designer, a facilitator, and an experiential learning trainer. And when I say I “speak” with her, we actually do something a little bit different, or maybe a lot different in terms of recording a podcast together. I didn’t just interview Romy, we each take turns in the episode facilitating each other through experiential learning activities. And so we’re doing a little bit of something different here in the podcast episode coming up, and I hope you check it out, Romy Alexandra and I experience experiential learning. See you then.

[Show outro]
Beth
Thank you for listening to Facilitating on Purpose. If you were inspired by something in this episode, please share it with a friend or a colleague to help them expand their facilitation practice too. To find the show notes, give me feedback, or submit ideas for future episodes visit facilitatingonpurpose.com. Special thanks to Mary Chan at Organized Sound Productions for producing this episode. Happy facilitating!

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