Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

Please Be Boston-bound for InBound

Filed under: Motivation — by Glenda at 11:52 pm on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Glenda Watson Hyatt

in July 2010, I had the pleasure of presenting on a panel Living with a Disability in the Web 2.0 Era at the Plain Talk Conference held in Alexandria, Virginia.

While at the event, I met two women who worked in the web accessibility field in Boston. Upon parting, one of them extended an invitation to meet up, if I am ever in Boston.

My immediate thought, of course, was Yeah, right, when will I ever be in Boston?

Fast forward to May 31st, 2014: I was trying to navigate through the still-under-renovation Main Street Shytrain Station on my way to a speaking gig, when a song line suddenly popped into my head out of apparently nowhere: Please come to Boston.

Huh? That was the only line that came to mind from a song I know I knew, but I couldn’t recall any other words.

While I was searching for the new elevator at the far end of the expanded platform: Please come to Boston.

While I was scooting along the sidewalks, trying to concentrate on finding the venue in a part of town I wasn’t particularly familiar with: Please come to Boston.

Again, huh? Where was that coming from? And, perhaps equally as important, what did it mean?

(Welcome to the inner workings of my brain! Total chaos most of the time.)

I managed to quiet the voices in my head in time to deliver my presentation; my second one using my iPad. And, yeah, I kinda rocked it!

Glenda using her iPad to deliver a speech

Afterwards, Karen, my partner in crime since we were 7 year old Brownies, and I went to Starbucks around the corner. Karen, who also serves as my editor on speed dial, was excited to see me deliver a presentation live. Likely to prepare herself for the next round of editing, she asked what was the next speaking gig I had lined up. At that point, my schedule was open, which is kind of an empty feeling for someone who is trying to get her speaking career going.

While Karen checked her phone for an email message she wanted me to read, I took advantage of the free wifi to check Facebook. Much to my delight, there was a private message from Laura Fitton, who I had first met as @Pistachio on Twitter years ago and then met in person at a BlogWorld Conference in Las Vegas.

She messaged me to invite me to do a 12-minute Bold Talk on any topic I am passionate about, much like a TED Talk. This would be at InBound, with an expected registration of 8,000. The Bold Talks take place in a room with a capacity of 1,000! (I had just finished speaking to a room with 20 attendees, max.) In Boston.

INBOUND 2014 Speaker - September 15-18, 2014 - Boston, MA

Seriously?!

I am presenting my Bold Talk “Go Beyond: Stare Your Fear in the Face and Boldly Go for It!” at INBOUND 2014 next Wednesday, in Boston!

Boston, here I come.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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Can’t Stop Me: Rock n Roll Singers Provide a Roadmap for My Motivational Speaking Career

Filed under: Motivation — by Glenda at 2:51 pm on Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Rod Stewart in concert at GM Place Stadium, Vancouver, August at 2009Over the years, various songs have been anthems or theme songs for my life. These tunes either mark milestones or help me navigate something I am going through.

My current theme song is Rod Stewart’s Can’t Stop Me.

Why does Rod’s song about how he got started in his singing career bring me to tears as I launch my motivational speaking career?

Back in my early years at university, I spent my second summer semester “learning how to use the microfilm and the microfiche in the library just in case I needed to use that technology to research a paper” – yes, I am that old! And, really, there wasn’t much else to do during simmer semesters atop Burnaby Mountain.

Actually, I was searching for anything and everything I could find about Rod Stewart, who I had fallen in love with during the 1989 American Music Awards. Yes, i was also a late bloomer! My excuse: I was raised on country music.

Print outs of magazine articles with post-it notes neatly attached

I spent a small fortune on printing that summer. I also neatly typed each article reference on post-it notes; obviously I had more “free” time back then. I even wrote to his record company, requesting 8×10 glossies.

But I digress.

I became fascinated with his career, particularly how he got started; how Long John Baldry discovered Rod while he was playing harmonica in a train station late one night (not seeing Long John perform while he was living in the area is one of my few regrets), and how, by fluke, a radio disc jockey played Side B and Maggie May launched Rod into stardom:

I was singing in the pubs
Was singing in the clubs
Then along came Maggie May

~ Lyrics from Rod Stewart’s Can’t Stop Me

Around the same time I also had a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. Grabbing a newly-arrived issue and a cold can of Coke and heading to the spot just above the football practice field was one of my few opportunities to read something other than boring university textbooks. I was intrigued with the behind-the-scenes side of the music industry; how the formation of bands was rather fluid and intertwined was fascinating.  

At that time, my fantasy was to become a rocker chick with a searing electric guitar, but, sadly, this white gimp chick has no rhythm. My somewhat-more-realistic dream job was some kind of clerical or office position at the Little Mountain Studios – a local studio where big names like Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams and many others came to record. I was devastated when the studio suddenly closed; that dream died before I had the opportunity to even pursue it.

I am the kind of concert-goer, when I can afford to go, who enjoys arriving early to watch the last minute set up. And then, afterwards, while I am waiting for the crowd to thin out before I head toward the exit, I watch how quickly the roadies dismantle the lighting and stage:

Now the seats are all empty
Let the roadies take the stage
Pack it up and tear it down
They’re the first to come and last to leave
Working for that minimum wage
They’ll set it up in another town

~ Lyrics from Jackson Browne’s The Load Out / Stay

Ever since beginning to entertain the thought of exploring the possibility of becoming a professional speaker, I have felt an affinity with the careers of singers. Those who have paid their dues by playing the smoky backrooms and who have worked their way up, until they finally got  their lucky start. Not like many of the performers today who gain, what seems like, instant fame.

As I see it, the singer and the speaker does the same thing: move, touch, motivate, inspire, educate, rally, entertain. The only difference is one puts the words to music.

The careers of these old rock n rollers – and country singers, too – have kindly provided me with the roadmap for my speaking career. I am willing (and have been doing) to speak to those groups in small, back rooms, in exchange for “a token of our appreciation”. Those gigs are affording me the opportunities to find my voice as a motivational speaker.

The way I present using a text-to-speech app on my iPad and my “uniqueness in movement” (particularly when I am nervous) doesn’t really fit the image of what a motivational speaker looks like. I totally relate to Rod’s beginnings:

"We can’t sign you, son
‘Cause you don’t fit in the mould.
It’s your hair and your nose and your clothes."
I said, "Thank you gentlemen
For this opportunity.
Now move on down the road."

In time, with enough practice, enough massaging of my message, enough confidence in finding my stage presence, my Long John Baldry or my Maggie May will come along.

They can’t stop me now
The world is waiting
It’s my turn to stand out in the crowd
They can’t stop me now
The tide is turning
I’m gonna make you proud

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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An Easter Bouquet for You

Filed under: Motivation — by Glenda at 12:35 pm on Saturday, April 19, 2014

Picked especially for you from our first Photo Wheel of the season…

Vibrant pink rhododendrons

A group of red tulips under tall trees

White and yellow daffodils under the trees

Red tulips and purple pansies

Daffodils close up

Pink frilly rhododendrons

Purple flowers

Wishing you a blessed Easter!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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An iPad and Proloquo4Text Creates an Acoustic Method for Delivering Presentations

Filed under: Motivation — by Glenda at 3:23 pm on Monday, April 14, 2014

Glenda using her iPadEver since buying my original iPad and, even more so, since my iPad Air, I have wondered if I could use the device to deliver a presentation.

Other people have been asking me if I use my iPad while delivering presentations.

Thanks to the fairly newly released app Proloquo4Text (P4T) – a solely text-based communication app – I think I can finally answer, ”Yes!”

With this app, I can enter text as phrases, sentences or paragraphs and, then, with one tap, my iPad will speak that text.

Screen shot of Proloquo4Text app

Unfortunately, the voice of Kate – the synthesized voice that I use in all of my presentations and feels like my voice – is not (yet?) available in the P4T app. But that isn’t really a big deal, right?

However, the good news is the text is easy to edit and to rearrange, which means that making changes right before “going on stage” is possible. I can even skip “speaking” a block of text while presenting. I definitely do not have that flexibility with the current method of using PowerPoint. With using PowerPoint, once it is saved to the USB drive, no other changes can be made. It is what it is. There is no flexibility while I deliver it.

And, with the P4T app open, I can type a comment or respond to a question, which creates further opportunity for spontaneity.

There are a few drawbacks, however. Because an extended tap can cause one block of text to be spoken, it would be relatively easy to “speak” a wrong block, particularly when I am nervous and my hands are more jerky than usual.

Also, I wouldn’t, necessarily, need PowerPoint, which I find redirects eyeballs off of me and onto the large screen. I find that is one way – perhaps a sneaky way – to deal with the jitters of being in front of an audience.

It does mean that if I have access to PowerPoint at the event, I can still use it to show photos and such. But I no longer need to spend hours on creating the captions, animations and timings, unless I choose to create my presentation in that way.

I now have a choice!

I can choose between my pared down, “acoustic” method using only my iPad with my nifty new Bluetooth speaker, which will be ideal for smaller venues or my full blown “rock n roll” method using PowerPoint with the scrolling captions and layered images, which is likely best for longer, more in-depth topics.

As this “acoustic” method has recently formulated in my mind, I have yet to test it in a living lab. I would gratefully welcome the opportunity to deliver a 5-, 10- or 15-minute presentation if you have an audience that might be open to a motivational message, but possibly a not quite perfected delivery method.


For more of information about how I deliver motivational presentations with a synthesized voice, please visit my speaker site.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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The Climb to Becoming a Motivational Speaker: Filled with Challenges Not Expected

Filed under: Motivation — by Glenda at 7:08 pm on Monday, March 24, 2014

Glenda zipping above the downtown traffic

Four years ago, on a beautiful spring day much like today, I stepped way beyond my comfort zone and ziplined above downtown Vancouver traffic. That moment has since had a ripple effect in my life.

Most unexpectedly (or, perhaps not so much if I am truly honest about it), that “stare fear in the face” moment led me to shift from consulting on web accessibility – a safe, almost expected career choice given my set of circumstances – to embracing “My Second Most Unlikely Career Choice”, that being a motivational speaker.

However, not only has the scared spitless moment had an effect, but the tower of stairs and the necessary climb have also become symbolic. Much like speaking to an audience, much effort and sweat was needed to get to that “fun, exhilarating” moment.

The tower of stairs up to the zip line

Since making the decision to become a motivational speaker, I have faced the toughest – emotionally and health wise – year (so far) of my adult life.

I have dealt with the illness and subsequent loss of my furbaby Faith. The gut-wrenching decision that I had to make and be present for, back on May 22nd, still haunts me. I have since discovered that grief is an extremely lonely place and needing to defend my grief, on occasion, only adds to my pain. In all honesty, I have faced several dark moments in which I felt like I was barely hanging on. I’d begin trying to claw my way back, only to lose my grip again.

Then came my Buddy boy. i can’t say for sure if I was completely ready for another furbaby at that point, but it was what the Universe had in store for me. I must have had selective amnesia from having Faith since she was 5-6 weeks old because I had totally forgotten how much work young kitties are. I have never seen a kitty decimate plants the way the Budmeister went after my spider plants and ficus tree. Darrell and I were constantly up righting the six-foot Robert Plant and cleaning up potting soil. How can one cute, adorable, affectionate kitty wreak such havoc, I do not know.

The third blow was when I went back to bed on December 14th, sick. At some point the bronchitis morphed into sinusitis. I am still not fully back to myself, even after three rounds of antibiotics and two rounds with the nebulizer, in which I was forced to face my lingering fear of the mask – a fear instilled as a child when facing the black rubber gas mask in the operating rooms. With the nebulizer, it was difficult to breathe normally while I was in panicked tears. After two rounds of three times a day for ten days, I eventually conquered my fear of that clear plastic mask, but I hope I never need to don another medicinal mask again.

I have never been sick for this long. My ears are still plugged and I am having trouble hearing. I have no energy, even with the iron pills that I started taking a  year ago.

It is difficult to be motivational when one doesn’t even feel motivated.

Back when I was discussing my career shift with business consultant and coach Charlie Gilkey, he did say that there would be challenges along the way. What an understatement that has proven to be! I did not expect these kinds of challenges. The metaphorical tower of stairs to becoming a professional speaker feels way, way taller and far more difficult than the 81 stairs I climbed four years ago.

After the last fifteen months, which ranks way up there on the “This Sucks the Big One” Scale with the year my parents separated and divorced, challenges like explaining to event organizers how someone with a significant speech impairment can deliver a presentation of high value, getting to the venues and up on stage, and having the right words to deliver the best message that I can will be a cakewalk.

Looking back, climbing those 81 stairs with support from my lifelong friend Karen and my cousin Craig, yet another realization came to mind: as a young child, I became known as the “I’ll do it myself” girl, always preferring to do things myself, in the name of independence, rather than have others help me. Somewhere along the line that independence became perceived or interpreted as a preference for working alone. Perhaps, there was some truth in that. I always dreaded group projects in school for fear I would end up doing more than my share of the work; and, that often proved to be the case.

Karen, Glenda and Craig climbing the tower together

However, now I am feeling an urge to change that. Without Karen and Craig, I wouldn’t have stepped out of my comfort zone to have experienced the zipline. It saddens me that I could be missing out on those experiences in my work life. 

i am looking around and witnessing other people, other friends, collaborating on exciting projects with others. I would like to experience that, too; working together, each contributing our own abilities and talents, n order to reach new, exhilarating heights together.

Perhaps it is now time to find opportunities to work together, to face my fears in the face and to go for it anyway. By doing so, I wonder where I might find myself four years hence.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

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