Mansfield man overcomes stammer to succeed in career of public speaking

A Mansfield man whose stammer stopped him from reading the eulogy at his father's funeral has urged others in his situation to try a "life-changing" speech therapy course.

Glenn Bills, 29, undertook a four-day specialist programme in 2015 after his stammer prevented him from "living my life", and ever since he has "not looked back".

Glenn Bills delivering a public speech in Stirling after suffering with a stammer since birth.

Glenn Bills delivering a public speech in Stirling after suffering with a stammer since birth.

Mr Bills, who now works in Sheffield, has gone from strength to strength since his stammering course, and has transformed from not being able to order a takeaway over the phone to delivering his own courses and appearing on the radio.

He has relived the moment he wanted to make the change and the impact it has had on his life.

"One of my most vivid memories was not being able to do a presentation to support my business studies coursework for my GCSE at Garibaldi School", he said.

"But the spark for wanting to do something about my stammer was two fold.

"I was unable to use the telephone or communicate effectively in my job, and more personally, my dad passed away in 2014 and whilst I wrote the eulogy, I didn't feel able to deliver it because I was ashamed of everyone knowing and seeing that I had a stammer."

Mr Bills signed up to the McGuire Programme, a scheme which aims to support people who stutter and stammer and bids to give them more confidence in public speaking.

The four-day course, which is delivered "by stammerers, for stammerers", has supported famous names such as Gareth Gates and Musharaf from Educating Yorkshire, giving people the confidence to talk confidently in public.

Mr Bills says it was the "best decision" he has ever made and would "implore anybody" with a stammer to give the course a go.

He said: “Prior to McGuire I avoided speaking situations or struggled through them, from ordering a takeaway to delivering presentations at work, my stutter had significant control over what I felt I was capable of.

"But since joining the programme in March 2015, I've done many things that were not possible before - including live radio interviews, public speaking, delivering best man speeches and my own wedding speech, and progressing in my career.

"And since then, I've attended numerous courses throughout the UK, becoming a certified primary coach in 2016 and then a course instructor last year.

"I have just instructed my first course in Stirling, Scotland at the beginning of November. Seven new people joined the programme, and after four days they left with control over their speech for the first time in their lives. I hope to instruct another course in 2020.

"After the programme, I even contacted the school and was able to go back and deliver a two hour session. This allowed me to cancel out the negative memory.

"I would implore anybody with a stutter to contact the McGuire Programme to see how the incredible coaches and instructors can help. Joining the programme was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have ever made."

If you have a stammer or want to learn more about the McGuire programme, you can find out more here.