but James Earl Jones wasn't born with it either. His family moved from a farm in Mississippi to Detroit when he was only 6. (thanks to Boyd Clark for this story, btw.)
this move was pretty traumatic for him & it prompted a stuttering crisis for him. a BIG stuttering crisis.
he hardly spoke a word for 8 years!
did you catch that? from 6 to about 14 this kid hardly spoke! that's pretty hard core. probably not the kid who's at the top of your list of kids who will grow up to become great orators.
In his high school English class they all had an assignment to write an original poem and then present it in front of the class. BUT James Earl's stuttering was SO BAD that his teacher was going to let him SLIDE on the reciting it to the class part! i never had an English teacher like that :)
but the teacher also called him out a little saying that the poem was SO GOOD, he wondered if James really wrote it, or just copied it from somewhere?
here's what Jones wrote about that:
"My honor was at stake. Plagiarism was bad business. I had written every word of this poem myself... I was shaking as I stood up, cursing myself. I strained to get the words out, pushing from the bottom of my soul. I opened my mouth--and to my astonishment, the words flowed out smoothly, every one of them.
My classmates were amazed, not so much by the poem as by the performance."
it's hard to think of a more important lesson for a communicator or a leader that communicates to learn...
Make sure the words are yours.
Push them from the very bottom of your soul.
The performance will take care of itself.