November 25, 2012

It cannot rain forever, dark clouds have to give way..

There is a silver lining for sure..  for those who are willing to make "new" mistakes!! :-)
Read-on for a wonderful and detailed report of Bangalore SHG by Anand.

The weekly meeting of TISA was moderately attended, but unusually with 33% participation from the fairer sex. Jitu, Dinesh, Abhinav, Sairam, Anandh, Pramod, Hema, Aruna and Upasna attended this meeting. The meeting started with the silent national anthem of Reliance Big( and touched us all. Then it proceeded with  an introduction round, which thanks to the frequent witty asides, knowledge sharings and discussions, took nearly 2hours. Be it the best areas in Bangalore for shopping, potential wedding planning careers, Patanjali’s quality merchandise, popular media or ayurvedic remedies, the conversations flowed well, helped along by Dinesh steering the group.
Some other  interesting takeaways/insights from the meeting were
1.       Personally, the ‘silent national anthem’ reminded me that besides stammering, there are other special conditions. We PWS should also support them, and then only expect ‘support’ from society. I know this is a controversial statement, but personal opinion only!
2.       A member shared that even in cancer treatment, the first thing doctors advice the patient is to ‘accept’ cancer rather than be in denial, so that healing is faster. Acceptance is not resignation, it is just not being negative. We can choose to be better or to be bitter.
3.       Another member shared that during Vipasana, he saw himself in 3D on what he was doing right/wrong. He advised Vipasana for members, because the very act of taking 10days off from work/everyday life is very relaxing.
4.       The flute analogy as explained by Rajesh during TISA Coorg 2012 national convention, helped understand that like how no sound can come from flute without air inside, similarly without full lungs/breathing properly, taking out sound will be difficult. All analogies have their limitations of course, but this one rung true to me.
5.       A case was discussed of a TISA SHG member getting  a job in a BPO voice process (as no vacancies for non voice, they directed for voice process). Though that was not the first choice, it was advised that till a better opportunity comes along, the soft skills/accent /other training would be helpful. I feel SHG really helped that member as otherwise to imagine a PWS in a voice process, does stretch the credulity of some!
6.       The benefits of slow speaking, were also discussed and debated.
Dinesh distributed copies of the booklet ‘Apna Hath Jagannath’ by Dr Satyendra Srivastava(download it, and played a short video of Nick( which was on from the DVD circulated at the TISA National Conference 2012 at Coorg. He urged members to identify other PWS and urge them to attend TISA meetings, for everyone’s benefits. The meeting closed with members deciding to make a small speech/presentation in the next meeting(also share how their weekly practice has worked), and Aruna shared  a 2min video about how we repeat the same mistakes due to carrying mental luggage. This is apt to keep in mind for those following TISA philosophy.
When slow is fast-the benefits of speaking ‘slowly’
Slow and steady wins the race”
We all know the story of the hare and the tortoise, where the tortoise wins the race. This idea has caught on in the ‘Slow movement’( and books like Don’t Sprint the Marathon by Dr V Raghunathan(summarized at But somehow while speaking, there is an urge to blurt out the content, and then we stammer more. To break this vicious cycle, speaking slowly is a standard therapist tool, which is often misunderstood/ misapplied.
For the rest of this article, I mean ‘speaking slowly’ as speaking at a pace where YOU are comfortable, without losing breath nor being anxious. That would be different for every person, but the listener(especially another PWS) would recognize that speech comfort zone. I do not mean speaking slowly as speaking syllable wise/word wise etc, as some therapists advice.  Also do note, that this is best applied with other TISA principles like acceptance etc, and not just on standalone basis.
Benefits of this are
1.       Greater control over speech hence less anxiety:- When we focus on what we say rather than how we say it, there is less tension to ‘speed up and get it over’, and fluency does improve. 
2.       Better communication:-When we do not use fillers/word substitutions etc in an effort to quickly blurt out things, we say what we have in mind. That is not only more effective, but also portrays a better image of a PWS, who may otherwise be misunderstood as grammatically challenged(!).
3.       Listener understands better-In a Toastmasters meeting, a message given is ‘Slow down’. Faster speech saves time for the speaker, but the listener may not take away anything. This applies even here.
Possible drawbacks are
1.       Speaking in a monotone:- Some SLP(Stuttering language professionals) and therapists advocate ‘slow speech’ exercise in a monotonous manner. It is unnatural to speak without voice modulation, tonal fluctuations and so on, and such practice is unlikely to be successful in the real world, where it all matters. Hence, take care to naturally modulate your voice
2.       Social settings:-We Indians speak among the fastest in the world. This puts PWS at a disadvantage while conversing with others, especially in group settings where even a minor pause in a PWS speech serves as a signal for others to interject/interrupt, like in a fish market GD.  Of course, people do listen to someone with status/unique subject matter expertise(SME), but barring that, only awareness can solve this issue
3.       Official settings:-Sometimes, the fast paced environment in workplaces may result in overworked seniors who ask you to ‘say it fast’ or who have less time to devote. In this case, slow speech is still an option as it is more comfortable for both involved to have 15mins of ‘fluent’ speech rather than 10mins of disjunct speech. Barring that, the PWS can send the details in the email and crystallize matter under discussion to the bare bones-this also improves summarizing skills. If all else fails, schedule an end of day/post lunch meeting!
4.       Feeling weird/self conscious:-For this, the TISA principle of acceptance, is useful to overcome that feeling.  
(Thanks to Sairam and Aruna from TISA SHG Bangalore, who practice this 24*7, to Dinesh and other TISA SHG members for helping me refine my ideas. Like any other TISA philosophy, this article merely suggests what may work, and its for the readers to adapt/practice. Comments welcome below, to refine and improve the article)  

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sachin said...

Wow! That was SOME report! Congrats Anand!
Dinesh, I agree with your take - world is a 2 way street: we too must serve others and not just expect everyone to be thoughtful towards us because of our stammering.. Serving others selflessly is also considered a limb of sadhana..
Congrats and many thanks to ALL of you..

Sairam said...

WOW !!! Anand, your report is awesome. You have a very wonderful writing skills.