I was recently giving a motivational talk about developing your skills and abilities. The gist of the message concerned taking responsibility for that which you can truly nourish (yourself) and stop blaming the world for things you cannot change. Good stuff. I had about a half hour; so the message had to be short and snappy. It was one of those stage deals in an auditorium-sized facility with the big presentation screens on the side and me being able to work the center stage with a roaming microphone. My audience was 400 or so, most of whom didn’t know about my hearing condition.
[bquote]“By the way,” I said, “I’m one of the few top Human Resource executives in the country who can’t hear. This has significantly reduced the number of employee complaints at my Company!”[/bquote]
About halfway through the presentation, I mentioned it. ”By the way,” I said, “I’m one of the few top Human Resource executives in the country who can’t hear. This has significantly reduced the number of employee complaints at my Company!” The audience laughed and so did I. Then I noticed a quizzical look on many faces and, I don’t know, a greater attentiveness.
Some thought I was kidding. They were surprised, I think, because I can speak clearly and enthusiastically, even as I can’t hear myself. I admit, being deaf to my own voice, does make me wonder what I am actually saying sometimes! However, I was mostly struck that they were struck. For the rest of the program, I could feel the listeners watching me more intently. Rather than my predicament serving as a distraction, it seemed instead to keep the audience more focused. Who would have thought?
[bquote_left]I admit, being deaf to my own voice, does make me wonder what I am actually saying sometimes! [/bquote_left]
It was a stark and pleasant reminder of a common well known dynamic between speaker and audience. As always, I can make my presentation and gage audience response by what I see and what I feel, not what I hear (or don’t hear). It was just a great reminder of the joy of public speaking. I always loved it because of that “connection.” Thus confirmed my new venture, that has now taken a name; my name, in fact–”BrianPatrickJensen”. Try to say that three times fast! So now I’m building this here website to articulate my message and do something I always dreamed of doing. I will let you know how it goes as soon as you sign up for one of my seminars!