[bmtgraduates] Re: Public speaking as a person who is visually impaired

  • From: Tony Stephens <anthony.w.stephens@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: bmtgraduates@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 6 Nov 2015 10:50:11 -0500

I think you hit on two key points Allen:

1. connect
2. Comfort

I've been speaking for over 25 years now, and worked in radio for a
number of years as well. And while radio is a completely different
dynamic, where it's much more difficult to know you are connecting,
hearing yourself speak is an excellent way to improve. I'd suggest
recording yourself, and listening for how well do you make
transitions, how many times do you said the dredded, "Uh..," and how
nervous do you sound. This can provide you with some basic steps
toward improvement and becoming more comfortable. The more comfortable
you are on the subject matter, you'll hear it in your confidence and
passion. I use to rely on my speech pre-recorded onto audio tapes with
an ear piece years ago for prompting, but now I pretty much just get
down the main points, to a high degree of confidence and comfort on
the subject, and start talking. I find it helps me be free much more
to focus on the room around me, rather than listen to what I'm suppose
to say or try to remember every comma and catch phrase. If I have
data, I'll just have it brailled on some note cards, or work to drill
that info into memory before I speak - although time is often a factor
toward being able to remember things. Word puzzles and other types of
games can help strengthen your memory, which is a valuable asset.

Another way to get comfortable before I speak is to breathe slowly for
a minute or two - almost like meditation, without the patchouli or
sage. Starting your speech with a joke is also an excellent way to
both connect with the audience, and relax yourself more. Everyone
feels more comfortable after a good laugh -- it just removes the
tension in the room, and gives you command of the audience.

As for connecting, there are several ways to extract verbal cues from
the audience, for those who can't see the non-verbals. Humor is one -
their laughs let you know they are listening. Although, sometimes, you
don't want humor, or it's easy to get overused; then, nobody takes you
serious if you joke the whole time.

Another way to connect is asking the audience a question, to solicit a
response. If you know the room well, you can call on people randomly
for their thoughts. This makes everyone stay on his or her toes,
knowing they could be called next.

Motion also helps keep the room engaged, which is why we physically
move from one spot to another when transitioning to a new theme or
idea. The motion catches their attention, and brings command of the
room back into your control.

These are just a few ideas, but I think Allen's right that connecting
and comfort are the two big obsticles. If you can navigate these, then
your craft as a speaker will significantly improve, and your anxiety
will go down.



On 11/6/15, Allen Adamson <a.adamson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:


First, I am not a great public speaker. This answer is based on observation
not great experience. A lot of the time we are looking for the audience to
approach us with affirmation. While a phenomenal speech will often invoke
such a response, not every speech (even a good one) will get such a
response. When we are delivering a speech that is more of a report, the
audience does not get as involved. I am not sure how well you know the
people you are speaking to, but that can have an effect on your speech as
well. Knowing them well will leave them with the tendency to listen without
much response. You can often get the same response from not knowing them at
all. One thing I like to do is spend some time with the audience prior to
your speech, soften them up if you will. This helps them be more responsive
to what you are delivering and helps them feel more comfortable about
questions. Also, feel free to ask questions. If no-one has any questions,
a joking fashion, addressing the audience, give yourself a compliment about
how well your speech must have been being that you answered all the
potential questions in your delivery. Of course this might not be as
applicable in an uptight professional setting. However some type of
ice-breaking technique like this usually works well at provoking some
response. As my classmates know I am a bit of a self-proclaimed comedian
I respond this way out of habit. Like I said I am by no means a
professional, but I truly believe that connectivity is very important in
making both you and your audience feel more comfortable. The more
comfortable we are, the more open we become.

Hope this helps.

Allen Adamson | Logistics Supervisor | West Texas Lighthouse for the Blind
Tel: 325-653-4231 |

Fax: 325-657-9367 | Email: a.adamson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

From: bmtgraduates-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:bmtgraduates-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Valverde, Loraine,
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2015 2:12 PM
To: bmtgraduates@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bmtgraduates] Re: Public speaking as a person who is visually

Hi Sylvia, Thank you for this insight. I just came back from a briefing
that I do to speak about our store and generally there are approximately 20

So I feel that my challenge is mostly not being able to see the faces and
understand how they react to what I am talking about. Pretty much just
quiet. Today I started my speech with how beautiful the weather is (which
has been totally awesome lately). So I thought this might spark a little
enthusiasm but I did not hear anything as such.

Should I just assume that it was a good speech? How do I determine that I
did a good speech that will grab them?

I will take any suggestions you may come up with.

Thank you!

Loraine M. Valverde



P: 623 535-8003

F: 623 535-8021

E: lvalverde@xxxxxxxxx

"Your Authorized ABILITY ONE Store"

From: bmtgraduates-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:bmtgraduates-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Sylvia Perez
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2015 12:44 PM
To: bmtgraduates@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bmtgraduates] Public speaking as a person who is visually

Hello everyone!

I hear many B.M.T. alumni have signed up for our list. So, it is time to
start getting some discussion going.

Most of us do a lot of public speaking, and if you do not it is likely that
you will eventually have to.

What do you find the most challenging about public speaking? And, what have
you done to work on that?

I recently joined Toastmasters and have to say it has been a really
wonderful experience. I highly recommend Toastmasters.

And, from there I have learned some new tricks to overcome some of the
difficulties I have faced.

One of my major challenges is to make sure I talk to the whole audience
since I cannot see any of the audience members. Now, I have someone give me
information ahead of time by standing where I will speak from and letting
know directionally whre the audience is. Using a 360 degree target
so if I know the audience is about 120 degrees from my center I know how
to move to address everyone.

What do you do, and what are your challenges with public speaking?


Sylvia Stinson-Perez


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