A comic strip taking place in a school. First panel, the female teacher happily says “It’s the first day of school, class. Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves. Won’t that be fun?” The students are smiling except for Franky Banky who isn’t happy with the idea and is thinking to himself, “Oh great”. Franky Banky grows more worried as each student introduces themselves one by one over the next twelve panels. Each panel displays how many students are left until it’s Franky Banky’s turn. Each panel contains an introduction by a student. My name is Amelia. 23 students left. My name is Emily. 15 students left. My name is Albert. 10 students left. My name is Mark. 8 students left. My name is Tammy. 3 students left. My name is Jean 2 students left. May name is Ralph. One student left. Franky Banky is experiencing a tremendous amount of anxiety as there is only one student left who says “My name is Ralph”. It’s now Franky Banky’s turn. Although he is scared, he smiles and stutter his introduction. Buh buh my name is fff fff fff”. Franky Banky continues struggling to say his name. “Fraaaaaay… Franky Buh buh buh buh.” He says “Banky” and thinks to himself I hate these going-around-the-room things”. He finishes his introduction by saying with a smile, “And I stuh stuh stuh stutter”. In the final panel, the narrator announces “minus one student left”, a girl introduces herself by saying “My name is Melanie” while Franky Banky lefts out a breath of relief.

Author’s commentary

The always dreaded let’s-go-around-the-room-and-introduce-ourselves on every single first day of school. I remember how much my stomach would hurt more and more as each student finished introducing themselves and my turn came up. Twenty left… 10 left… 5 left… 1 left! Oh no!

If only I had known back then what I know now. Taking frequent steps out of your comfort zone and growing, well, comfortable with the idea of stuttering openly changed my life forever. Now I happily mention that I stutter if I should encounter a large stuttering volume when introducing myself (this is also especially helpful on conference calls). It puts both me and my listeners as ease. My being at ease sends the signal to my listeners that they can also be at ease with my stuttering.

This also works when you’re introducing yourself to one person. Or any other speaking situation.

Be mindful that some people may not know how to respond. Imagine someone disclosing something to you that you know nothing about. Do you respond with “Oh that’s great!”? “Ok”. “Oh that’s ok”. None of those sound like good replies. Just because they don’t know what to say doesn’t mean they are pitying you. They just don’t know what stuttering is!

I usually respond with something like “let me know if you need me to repeat anything” or “feel free to ask me any questions you may have about stuttering” when I find myself in this kind of situation

I find what really helps is smiling when I tell people I stutter. It shows confidence.

August 25, 2022

Daniele Rossi's artistic signature
An illustration of the author standing next to a pile of sketchbooks. Franky Banky is sitting on top reading one of the books. Ti-Ger is sneaking around the bottom.
Book cover with an illustration of Franky Banky talking on the phone

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