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The “Beautiful Interruption” of talking to people you don’t know – talking to strangers

When starting a conversation with a stranger, there is a very high probability that they will be receptive to you. We are by nature, social creatures, and as such, we generally welcome interactions with others. But for people who stutter this can be a fearful scenario and we wouldn't dare interact for fear of rejection or simply not being understood. But now with the control taught by the programme, it’s made easier and starts to become fun.

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These face to face contacts are part and parcel of what you do on the McGuire Programme, we go out of our way to connect with people and engage in conversation. Talking to strangers with a stutter/stammer
talking to strangers stutter stammer

Face-to-face contacts are part and parcel of what you do on the McGuire Programme, we go out of our way to connect with people and engage in conversation by talking to strangers. This pushes us out of our comfort zones and gets us working on our speaking techniques in the real world.

“A stranger is just someone that you’ve forgotten.” We descended on the city of Düsseldorf for the 4th time. Düsseldorf is a favourite location for our members as the people are so friendly and approachable, plus super talkative and supportive. That’s an extra bonus when you are faced with making over 200 face-to-face contacts with strangers during one of our training courses.

These face-to-face contacts are part and parcel of what you do on the McGuire Programme, we go out of our way to connect with people and engage in conversation by talking to strangers. This pushes us out of our comfort zones and gets us working on our speaking techniques in the real world. It’s also a great opportunity to practice and to see what we can improve on regarding our speaking techniques.

The “beautiful interruption” of talking to people you don’t know.

Düsseldorf has a population of almost 600,000 in the city and 1.5 million in the larger metropolitan area. No excuses for not reaching our goal of 200 contacts. We had 16 people who stutter join us for our course in February. Three of them were absolute beginners, while the rest were returning members, coming back to reinforce their speaking techniques and to help the newbies aka new students. That’s over 3,200 people who were approached on the streets during our contact sessions.

As we say, ‘it’s good to talk’, and taking action is the key to applying the knowledge learnt during our 3-day intensive courses.

When you start looking around the world, looking people in the eye, saying hello, maybe having a longer conversation or telling people that we are people who stutter and are working hard on getting control of our speech, you have to really be there, be there in the moment. It can break up the routine where you get very interior in your own head. Turning your awareness outward means you’re not on autopilot but present at the moment. And people actually are very friendly.

When starting a conversation with a stranger, there is a very high probability that they will be receptive to you. We are by nature, social creatures, and as such, we generally welcome interactions with others. But for people who stutter this can be a fearful scenario and we wouldn’t dare interact for fear of rejection or simply not being understood. But now with the control taught by the programme, it’s made easier and starts to become fun.

Think about it; when a stranger starts a conversation with you, how do you usually react? Before the programme, I’d run, or want to escape as fast as possible, but now I’m happy to engage and have a conversation with them.

As I mentioned above, meeting random strangers can be really fun. You aren’t committed to ever talking to them again, so if the person is really strange, it can make the interaction fun without any negative consequences. Or the person behind you in a queue could one day be your best friend or perhaps your wife. It could happen. But even if it’s not that extreme, you never know if that person is just a cool person who you would enjoy having a conversation with.

Talking to strangers is a big part of our daily routine. I’ve approached people in well over 8 countries, and soo many cities that I’ve lost count, and I love every minute of it.

Emmet O’Connell, member of the McGuire Programme

Michael Norton, PhD, a social science researcher and professor at Harvard Business School states that

“Based on our data so far, it appears that talking with strangers can be at least as important to our daily happiness as talking to our close friends and family,”. 

Michael Norton, PhD

People who chatted with strangers in recent studies—on buses and in waiting rooms, in taxis and at Starbucks—not only tended to enjoy the experience but also wound up in a better mood afterwards than those who didn’t chat. Spread the happiness chat bug, it may be contagious.


Join us for our next intensive course and start to push out of your comfort zones by talking to strangers!

Contact Emmet O’Connell via email: emmet.oconnell@mcguireprogramme.com

or phone +49 (0)176 83 4050 26