Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

How to Give the Wisdom Whisperer a Voice

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 7:19 pm on Friday, June 3, 2011

Disability – temporary or permanent – can befall anyone at any time. Successful Online Business Conference (SOBCon) co-founder Liz Strauss discovered this at the most inopportune time.

She lost her voice hours before giving her closing keynote at the sold out event. She tried everything; even mainlining tea laced with honey did nothing.

Liz Strauss standing on the back of Glenda Watson Hyatt's scooter

I now more fully understand her tweet to me – earlier that day -that she was sad that I was not there.

Had I known her circumstances, I would have gladly offered a few suggestions based on experience.

In her situation, I would not have not recommended my favourite iPad communication app Proloquo2Go only because it is a little pricy for a day or two. For an extended voice lost, definitely.

Instead, I would have suggested the free text-to-speech app Verbally. This free, easy-to-use app would have saved Liz from using Post-It notes to communicate face-to-face. 

Surely someone from the SOBCon family would have lent Liz their iPad, at least during the socializing times, so that she could easily communicate and impart her wisdom.

To deliver her closing keynote, my suggestion would have been the text reader TextAloud – the free 15-day trial would have been sufficient.  With this handy piece of software, she could have written her keynote, tweaked the pronunciation and pauses,  and then saved it in one of many audio formats to be played on any laptop. (TextAloud is also great for proofreading.)

The technology really is that simple.

However, I love the solution that Liz did come up with. After several hours of fretting what to do, she grabbed a flipchart pad, disappeared into a quiet room and wrote one thought on 27 sheets of paper. Twenty-seven volunteers then read aloud Liz’s words.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the most effective, the most powerful.

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