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SOMEO N BLIND E I IN YOU S AUDIE R NCE!

BY KATHY COLLARD MILLER @KATHYCMILLER www.kathycollardmiller.com

AS THE RETREAT CHAIRWOMAN MENTIONED TO ME THAT A BLIND WOMAN WOULD BE IN THE AUDIENCE, I started feeling nervous. I wondered, Should I shake hands? Should I tell her about my book which she can’t read? Should I even talk to her? What about my power point presentation? Some time ago when I faced these issues, I remembered some advice my blind speaker friend Clark Roberts gave me. Here’s the wisdom he passed along to me.

1. Introduce yourself and ask for feedback on anything you’re not certain about. There’s no problem say-

ing, “May I shake your hand?” Or “Do you give hugs?” Most blind persons will extend their hand when they sense you are near and about to meet them.

2. Don’t prejudge what they are interested in. Offer them your promotional

materials like anyone else. They have technology available to “read” independently. When you exchange business cards, let her know what you are doing and place the information in her hand.

3. Have handouts? Make sure she re-

ceives them just like anyone else. It’s up to her what she decides to do with anything given her.

4. Using visual aids? Ask the meeting planner to arrange someone to sit next to her and explain the power point or what you are manually handling.

5. If you aren’t told of a blind person’s attendance, make sure by the first break she is being cared for.

For all these ideas, it might be easy to assume the retreat chairman is taking care of it, but she might be as startled as you are. You’re the expert and professional, so care for her needs and go out of your way to take the initiative. S

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