At first glance, eloquence and stuttering are opposed: Eloquence is the art of public speaking; stuttering is generally considered to be a condition that prevents people from speaking. Fluency being considered the main element of a speech, anything that goes against it is seen as a hindrance to the art of being eloquent.
However, what if eloquence isn’t all about fluency? Indeed, a person’s emotions, gestures, silences, structure of speech and ideas have as much or even more impact on their ability to speak. These are skills that do not depend on the fluency of the person.
This is the bet that was taken during the creation of the eloquence of stammering, the first eloquence contest intended for people who stutter, an innovative and ambitious project carried by the Association Parole Bégaiement and Dauphine Solidarité Handicap.
30 candidates embarked on what turned out to be the epic of a lifetime: overcoming a fear that has dominated for years, that of public speaking. For 6 weeks, each year, the candidates are accompanied by eloquence specialists, speech therapists and people who stutter. The eloquence contest is only a framework to overcome your fear and move forward.
The ambition is to show that skills that are blocked by disability can be enhanced by the way people compensate for them. Of course, stuttering constrains oral expression, but it is not limited to speaking without blocking. Stuttering prompts you to express more emotions, to be sincere, and to share the strength that it takes to express yourself. It is also a call for self-confidence and risk taking. When we have a difference, we prefer to run away from it. Facing what blocks us and frightens us allows us to flourish and achieve what seems impossible to us.
When this personal challenge turns into a team project, friendships are formed and a synergy makes all the participants shine. Everyone is moving towards the same goal: To show that difference can be an asset in life.