Last week, I was invited to speak at the National Association of Blind Merchants conference held at the AC Marriott in New Orleans. I was introduced to the director Mr. Terry Smith through the New Orleans Chapter of Toastmasters. When I learned of the opportunity to speak with business leaders from around the country, all dealing with visual impairment or blindness in some form or another, I jumped at the chance. Being legally blind myself, it was almost too good to be true.
My presentation was on why public speaking is important. Long before telephones and televisions, there was public speaking. From coliseums to convention centers, public speaking has been around and is still alive and well to this day. Some of the attendees mentioned challenges they faced in this area. These challenges ranged from fear of speaking to a large audience to having the confidence to deliver the message the way they would like.
In this presentation, I discussed the three types of public speaking:
- Informative, and
or P.I.E. for short.
An example of persuasive public speaking would be someone selling a product, service or idea. Informative public speaking would be introducing a change in policy or processes, or simply be discussing a subject that you’re well versed in. Entertaining public speaking could be anything from delivering a toast at a wedding to trying your hand at stand-up comedy.
Whatever the message, whether it be persuasive, informative, entertaining or a combination of all three, always remember that the first person that needs to believe in your message is you. People will always follow the person that knows where they’re going just as people will always listen to those that know what they’re speaking about.
Keep Breaking Barriers,
This week, I presented my Breaking Barriers workshop at the St. Bernard Parish Public Library. The goal of this workshop was to offer a new perspective and fresh outlook to some of life’s challenges. Often times, people will allow outside forces to disrupt their inner peace and in doing so, create barriers for themselves. A barrier by definition is an object which prevents movement or denies access. Sometimes these barriers can come from the people closest to you. Throughout the course of the workshop I witnessed the audience go from stressed to decompressed as they shared their stories.
Having some fun with the younger side of the audience. They all broke through their first barrier of the night which came in the form of a potato. The goal of this activity was to pierce the potato with an ordinary straw.
Some of the older kids broke barriers as well. Mark was especially happy when he broke through completely on his very first try. Sometimes it can take multiple attempts to break a barrier and other times just once. The important thing to understand is that barriers are merely obstacles standing in the way of what you truly want.
The audience learned the 5 Cs: Conflict, Centering, Confidence, Change and Communication. Most of the barriers people face falls into one or more of these categories. The audience learned that not only were they able to break through their personals barriers but that they were not alone in the obstacles that they faced.
At the end of the day it’s important to understand that barriers will come into your life in all shapes and sizes and almost always when you least expect it. The key is recognizing them early and knocking them out!