Talking to Someone Who Stutters

As a listener, there are several ways you can assist someone who stutters when talking to them.effective-online-communication

Don’t give them advice

Comments such as “Slow down”, “Take a breath”, or “Relax” are not helpful and are more than often demeaning. Remember that stuttering is not caused by psychological factors such as stress or anxiety.

Don’t finish their sentences

While you may be tempted, don’t fill in their words or finish their sentences. This will be seen as a sign of frustration and will discourage the person.

Speak unhurriedly

Speaking in an unhurried manner will allow the person to feel more at ease in the conversation. However, do not speak slowly to the extent where it is unnatural. Again, this may come off as demeaning.

Maintain eye contact

Mannerisms such as maintaining natural eye contact lets the person know that you are listening attentively to what they are saying, rather than on how they are saying it.

Be Patient

Waiting patiently until the person has finished will allow them to say everything they wanted to. Do not show frustration towards them, or tell them to “Hurry up”. Remember that extra patience will be required when speaking to someone who stutters on the telephone.



The Stuttering Foundation 2015, 6 Tips For Speaking With Someone Who Stutters, <;


2 thoughts on “Talking to Someone Who Stutters

  1. Hi there,

    Firstly, nice post! It’s important that people are aware of how their subconscious actions may hurt another individual. From having impatient teachers during school, to awkward situations when meeting new people (even to this day), stutterers receive uncomfortable treatment on a daily basis. Many of those without disabled speech don’t even realise that speech discrimination happens, or that they can be responsible for it.

    Also, I’ve noticed that you are using the term “persons who stutter”. Just take note that some (myself included) don’t like being labelled under this term. I prefer using the term “stutterer” to remove the connotation that a stutter is a negative attribute that should be removed from our identities.

    – Eli


    1. Hi Eli,

      Thank you for your comment. Speech discrimination is exactly why this campaign has been born. There is definitely a negative stigma around stuttering, and it is likely that stutterers would face issues such as poor mental health, etc. Public awareness on the issue is definitely the first step for change.

      I apologise if the term has triggered you – will make sure to consider this in the future. To be honest, I hadn’t thought about this and it just goes to show how much more discussion needs to be had on the issue.

      Hope you continue visiting us!


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