Friday, April 21, 2006

On the road for speaking engagements

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I've been on the road traveling for speaking engagements the last few days.

A couple of days ago I spoke at the Hudson Country Club where a group of businessmen and women gathered on a regular basis for purposes of networking, friendship and comradeship. They brought me in to talk about the value of overcoming adversity and were in for a real treat because they had fun. I started off the talk by asking one of the members, a retired businessman, who once did a lot of speaking as a corporate spokesperson, to follow a simple script and carry out the dual role of an air traffic controller and co-pilot/flight instructor. His job was to read off the script while I pretended to fly with the use of a view-limiting device that looked like this.

This device is worn by student pilots while training for the instrument rating. The instrument rating is a license to fly an airplane by reference to the instruments which means learning how to fly in bad weather where forward visibility is restricted. My flight instructor had his hands full because not only did he have to monitor outside air traffic but he also had to communicate with me using a dry erase board with commonly used aviation symbols and abbreviations. On top of that, he had to teach me how to properly scan and interpret the instruments in order to keep the plane right side up. No easy task!

The playacting exercise was a hoot. Everybody in the audience got to see what it was like to learn how to fly by reference to the instruments. The purpose of the exercise was to not only get the audience involved but also demonstrate the degree of difficulty in teaching someone (whether deaf or not), how to fly by reference to the instruments.

After the exercise, I went on to describe how the HEAR principle helps people face adversity and overcome obstacles. I explained that by Having a passion, Entertaining the possibilities, Acting on your intuition and Remembering those who helped us along the way is how we can face adversity in the face and laugh all the way to the bank.

I was given 30 minutes to give the presentation and a good time was had by all.

A few days later I did the same thing for students at Northern Ohio University, a 3 hour drive from here. What was interesting was that I used the same playacting exercise along with similiar humorous and serious stories to get the HEAR principle across. Both types of audiences (businessmen/women verus students) "got it" once they were "in fun" and having a good time. If the audience is involved and enjoying themselves, they are in a better position to receive the HEAR message.

That's what makes professional speaking so much fun because on many levels people relate to adversity -- it does not discriminate. We've all had our share of obstacles in the way. If we have a passion, entertain the possibilities, act on our intuition and remember those who come into our lives to help us at just the right time, obstacles will seem like illusions!

Until next time, enjoy!
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