A Different Way Of Seeing

Smile FM Interview

Let’s take a short break from the heat of Kolkata and return briefly to Cape Town…

Here’s a recent interview I did with Andre du Toit, the Big Positive Guy on Smile FM. The interview was broadcast on the Honest Truth Show with Benito Vergotine shortly before I left for India.

Hope you enjoy it.

Next time we’ll be returning to India for a cricket match… or maybe a rock concert. You’ll have to join us next time to find out which it was.

The SAFM Disability Report with Karen Key

Fiji and I had great fun going to the SABC in Cape Town to be interviewed for the Disability Report on SAFM. You can hear the interview with Karen Key here.

I was very impressed with how quietly Fiji sat while Karen and I were talking – I doubt you’ll hear even a clink of her doggy tags despite the fact we were in a soundproofed recording studio with ambient microphones.

Imagine how startled I was to discover that Karen’s mother had heard me speak and had bought a copy of my book, “A Different Way of Seeing mere weeks before the interview – it really is a very small world!

Hope you enjoy listening to the interview… I’ll share more audio and video recordings in a few weeks

You Have to be Kidding – Me Doing Tech?

The other day I was finishing off editing a recording I’d made of one of my presentations when I stopped dead in my tracks and realized what I was doing. Now, that may not be a shocking statement to you, but try to see it from my perspective. I… was editing…. A recording…. I had made – me, the woman who revealed in her book, “A Different Way of Seeing: A Blind Woman’s Journey of Living an ‘Ordinary’ Life in an Extraordinary Way”, that she had a love-hate relationship with technology and was secretly terrified of breaking the internet… editing a voice recording of a speech totally without sighted help – wow!

I’m not saying I’ve suddenly become a total wizard at technology. Nor am I claiming to have the (to me) remarkable skills that some of my blind friends who are web developers, podcasters, musicians, and assistive technology trainers do… but I feel justified in feeling a little bit proud of my ability to keep learning and growing my skills.

Over the next few weeks I’ll share some of my recordings with you – a few of my speeches and a few radio interviews. Some of those I’ll share will be ones I’ve edited and others will come from other sources.

I hope you enjoy them!

Such a Great Feeling!

NewImage

It’s always such a great feeling to read a review of one’s work – especially if it’s positive! Below is a link to a review of my book “A Different Way of seeing: A Blind Woman’s Journey of Living an ‘Ordinary’ Life in an Extraordinary Way by fellow speaker and member of my MasterMind group, Charlotte Kemp:

http://charlottekemp.co.za/resources/different-way-seeing-lois-strachan/

Thanks so much for the review, Charlotte!

Look Who’s in the Cape Times!

I was really excited to have an article about my recent Toastmasters award published on page 3 of the
Cape Times newspaper on 18 July, 2017.

Here’s a photo of the article.

CT

And for those who can’t see the photo… or would prefer to read it online, here’s the link to the article:

Book Launch feedback

Lois book launchHere’s a photo from my recent presentation and book launch in Cape Town, taken by speaking colleague Charlotte Kemp.

As often happens, there were some parts of the event that I was thrilled with and a few that perhaps didn’t go quite as planned. One of the things I’ve learned is that it is from the areas we want to do better that we learn the most. So, here is my brief overview of my favourite parts of the event and what I’ve learned to do better.

I would have loved for more people to have been there. Well, who doesn’t want more people to be at an event where they’re speaking? Of course, using a workday lunchtime event to launch my book was probably not the brightest move I could have made. So, I’ve decided I’d like to hold another book launch – this time in the evening so I can enable more people to attend.

Having said that, there were amazing people there and I loved the diversity and creativity of the questions I was asked after I spoke. I always love the Q&A time I try to build into every speaking event because that gives me the chance to find out what people want to know about living without sight. It’s one of my favourite ways of demystifying blindness to an ever increasing number of people.

I also really appreciated that the venue gave me not only the opportunity to create a video of my presentation, but also arranged a professional sound engineer to assist so the video would have a good quality sound track. That was an unexpected bonus!

You may be wondering what learnings I took away to help my growth as a speaker. First, I realized it was difficult for me to identify where the people asking questions were sitting. Because they were using a roving microphone it sounded to me like everyone was sitting right next to me at the front of the room – that’s where the sound was coming from. What I learned is that I need to develop a more effective way of identifying where people are during a Q&A so I can look directly at them rather than facing the speakers.

Another area I need to figure out better is how to make people more comfortable with my blindness, and especially my sense of humour when talking about my blindness. I share several funny personal stories about living without sight when I speak. I know and understand that people who don’t know me may feel uncomfortable about laughing at these stories in case they come across as insensitive or politically incorrect. So I need to find a way to minimize that discomfort as I strive to demystify blindness.

Every experience is an opportunity for me to learn new techniques to become a better speaker and writer. With that in mind, I can honestly say that the presentation and book launch were immensely valuable … even if I would have liked more people to have been there!

You’re Invited – Launch of My Book on 20 April

I’m thrilled to announce the details of the launch for my new book,
“A Different Way of Seeing – A Blind Woman’s Journey of Living an ‘Ordinary’ Life in an Extraordinary Way”

The launch will take place at lunchtime on 20 April 2017 at Kelvin Grove.

More details about the event and how to book are in the below poster. Please feel free to share this event with whomever you feel would be interested – it would be wonderful to have a room filled with friends and family!

KG

Well, It Wasn’t Shark Diving…

Cds Lois PSAApart from shark diving and parachuting, I’m generally open to new experiences. So, when the Cape Town Chapter of the Professional Speakers Association asked me to participate in a panel discussion on the merits of traditional publishing versus self-publishing, I leapt at the chance. What made it even more exciting was that two of us would be in Cape Town and the third would join us via Skype from Johannesburg.

I admit it was a little disconcerting sitting there with a super-sized version of speaker/author Douglas Kruger dominating the massive screen beside author/trainer Jill Ritchie and myself but it certainly didn’t impede the discussion in any way.

I’ve always believed that my decision to self-publish was the right one for me, but was fascinated to hear what Jill and Douglas had to say about their own experiences in both worlds. I found the open and honest discussion informative and thought-provoking as did the audience, based on the diverse questions they asked. I certainly learned a lot from the input given by Jill and Douglas, and hope that others did too.

Not only did I get a new experience but I also gained valuable information that’ll help me in the future. And once again I was reminded why I gain so much value from being a member of the Professional Speakers Association!

So, while I came away with my belief that self-publishing was the right decision for my current books, perhaps next time I’ll think differently! Who knows?

Testing My new technology Breaking Point

Anyone who’s read my book, “A Different Way of Seeing” will know that I have something of a love-hate relationship with technology. I love the freedom that technology gives me to do the things that I want, but I’m frequently frustrated when the tech “doesn’t work”! And yes, I’m even willing to admit that in many instances “not working” is caused by my lack of knowledge, lack of skill or simple user error.

As it turns out, today I’m testing my new technology breaking point to the outer limit – I’ve just bought a brand new laptop with Windows 10… which means I’m going to have to learn not only a new operating system but also a new screen reader since the (very old) one I’ve been using will just roll over and expire if I try to use it on the new system.

As you can imagine I’m just a teensy little bit stressed right now.

  • Will I overcome the challenge of having two significant learning curves taking place at the same time?
  • Will I become so stressed out and unpleasant that my friends and family avoid seeing me till I’m through this phase?
  • Will even my beloved guide dog Fiji pack her bags and beg to go on an extended doggy vacation till I figure Windows 10 and NVD Reader out?
  • Or will I totally lose it and wind up gibbering in a corner with the new laptop grinning evilly down at me?

At this stage I don’t have an answer to those questions… but I seriously hope none of them will become a reality.

I’ll let you know what happens… At least, I will if I’m able to do so

Wish me luck… till we “speak” again!

Xtraordinary Woman of the Month Award – March 2017

I’m thrilled to announce that I have been recognised with the Xtraordinary Women ‘Woman of the Month’ award for March 2017.

The nomination was in recognition of the work I’m doing de-mystifying the abilities of those living a productive life without sight.

You can read more about the award here.

I love the aims of this great organisation – here’s a little about them, taken from their website:

Xtraordinary Women is a platform that Leads, Inspires, Supports and Recognises Entrepreneurs in South Africa. It takes a community to build a business, and Xtraordinary Women is that community.
Our Purpose:
To encourage and support Ordinary Women to do Extraordinary Things.
Our Vision:
To support the South African economy by building a community of successful women in business and to showcase what South Africa has to offer.

Find Xtraordinary Women here:
Website: http://www.xtraordinarywomen.co.za/
Twitter: @XordinaryWomen

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