Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Grateful Canadian Strong and Free

Filed under: General — by at 5:02 pm on Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gratefully waving my Canadian flagWow, June 30th already?

That means 2009 is half over! Will the second half be as crazily busy, in an equally good way?

That means that tomorrow is Canada Day! With all that is happening around the world, I am even more thankful and grateful to be Canadian. The words “With glowing hearts we see thee rise, / The True North strong and free!” hold extra significance at the moment.

Happy Canada Day! Cherish the freedoms we have in this beautiful country.

Does anything more need to be said?

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Verbal Communication: More Than the Written Word Spoken Aloud

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 1:59 am on Thursday, June 25, 2009

Glenda Watson Hyatt presenting at SOBCon 09: Biz School for Bloggers
(Photo credit: Becky McCray)

Using technology and the voice of “Kate” to give several presentations in recent months, I have become acutely aware of the differences between verbal and written forms of communication.

Verbal communication is not simply text converted to speech. Verbal communication, for the most part, is less structured and more fluid. It is not always complete sentences; it is definitely not paragraphs.

Verbal communication requires thinking, rationalizing and forming an opinion in the moment. Unless it is a prepared speech, there is no luxury of a draft and revision after further thought, as is the case with writing. Verbal communication is synchronous, without a delay between the time when the message is sent and the time when it is received.

Verbal communication takes self-confidence. Do these words I am about to utter fit with what the others are talking about? Is my point valid within the context of this conversation? Self-confidence varies across situations. A confident writer may not be a confident speaker. That confidence is built up over time with an accumulation of successes and failures. And, with that self-confidence comes verbal communication skills, learned over time and built upon previous lessons learned.

Adding a communication device to the mix may make verbal communication possible in that the message is spoken aloud. But, from what I have experienced so far on this journey, using such a device (in whatever form) is not quite the same as verbal communication. In my case, using the technology that I do, it is closer to written communication converted to text with some tweaks.

Learning how to use this technology within the verbal realm has required being a quick study to appear on par with my peers. Behind the scenes, it has been difficult to know how to fit one form of communication into another. 

I wonder, when young people with speech disabilities are given communication devices and taught how to use the device, are they also taught how to communicate with the device?  The way I see it, there are two sets of skills here: the technical and the social. Both are required, but might be acquired at different speeds. 

It has definitely been an interesting journey; one that I am still navigating.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips or insights.

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Sing Twitter’s Alphabet Song

Filed under: Motivation — by at 6:50 pm on Saturday, June 20, 2009

Messy work table

Living from the seated position, any horizontal surface, at our level, becomes fair game for clutter. Sadly, that is the fate of the work table. No matter how I try to organize it, clutter is always attracted to its surface.

After several months of neglect and without anything else too urgent demands my attention today, I figured a lazy Saturday was a good time to tackle the task.

With some shredding, recycling and piling to be filed and assistance from Darrell, the desk top began appearing. Obviously, progress was being made. Time for some lunch!

Sitting here at my desk, eating macaroni and cheese, while watching my peeps’ chatter on Twitter – what a way to spend part of a lazy Saturday afternoon!

A tweet pops up from my buddy Chris Brogan:

Chris Brogan

Big night of writing and prep work, not to mention catching up. This is how I get it done, gang. ABC: always be creating.

His next tweet, curtsey of Rosa Say, is “DEFG: Dream, Evangelize, Follow-up Generously”.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

I follow with HIJ: Hope, Inspiration and Justice.

Chris offers HIJ: Hide in Jammies! I like his thinking.

KLM: Keep Living Meaningfully comes to my mind.

NOP: Need Oxygen Permanently naturally follows, based on first-hand experience!

Stacy BriceVirtual Assistant guru Stacy Brice tweets QRS: Quit Reaping Stupidity!

Good one, Stacy!

I invite you to finish singing Twitter’s Alphabet Song, while I go finish what I started earlier.

Isn’t playing game and singing with friends what lazy Saturday afternoons are for?!

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Does Accessibility Need an Al Gore?

Filed under: Accessibility 100,Living with a disability — by at 12:00 am on Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Over the past couple of months, several people have thanked me for making them aware of the need for accessibility, both on the web and in daily life. I smile. While I appreciate having the tools and voice to make this need known, accessibility is not a new need.

Wheelchair washroom stall without a door Do you know how long I and millions of other people with disabilities have been dealing with less than accessible washrooms, curb cuts and such? Accessibility isn’t a new concept, yet many, many people still don’t get it until they are personally touched by the need.

Over the weekend, I was thinking about the environmental movement. Despite the decades of tireless work by environmentalist David Suzuki, oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, Greenpeace and countless other individuals and organizations, it wasn’t until 2006 when former US Vice President Al Gore released his Hollywood-ized documentary An Inconvenient Truth did the masses finally “get it”. Overnight, reducing, recycling and repurposing became the latest trend. Parking the car and walking to work was a new concept. “Green” products began popping up everywhere.

In 2007, Al Gore and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”.

From my perspective, it took a former American politician and a documentary with a $1million budget, according to Wikipedia, to get people’s attention and to start them taking action to protect the earth. Whatever it takes!

Turning back to accessibility, what needs to happens for the similar response to occur? What would get people’s attention and get them taking action? Do we need a big name like Al Gore in our corner?

Seriously, I am asking. I welcome a respectful dialogue in the comments below.

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Summer is Here!

Filed under: General — by at 2:03 pm on Saturday, June 13, 2009

Brightly coloured flowers received from SPARC BC Wow, what a ride! In the last six weeks, I have:

Oprah's puppy Sadie outside of Harpo StudiosIn that time, I have also:

Now, I am completely and totally drained. I am eagerly looking forward to a summer break! I’m looking forward:

  • to laying in bed until mid-morning (or beyond), guilt-free, with the gentle breeze drifting in and my mind wandering.
  • to summertime reading, including Pam Slim’s Escape from Cubicle Nation, which I began on the plane to Chicago. Imagine a business book that is actually funny! (Thanks Pam for the kind mention on page 130!)
  • to finding the top of my desk and other buried corners of my home,
  • to reclaiming the deck from the weeds, once the painters have finished this end of the building (Is it too late to plant pansies and petunias?), and
  • to, most importantly, reconnecting with my sorely neglected husband and enjoying more views like the one below while on adventures around Vancouver:

Marina on the south side of False Creek, Vancouver

“Summer’s here and the time is right
For dancing in the street.”

What are your plans for enjoying this summer? Or, if you are a friend from the southern hemisphere, this winter?

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