Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Making Eye Contact
Last night I gave a speech for Toastmaster's. It was about Mom's diagnosis and her choice to have a quality life rather than aggressive treatment. I first gave this speech at a contest Spring of 2007. The basic concept is that quality of life is a gift you give others. Having given this speech twice already my goal is to improve it. Last night was not a contest for me but for other Toastmasters. They evaluated me and the best evaluator goes onto the next level in contest land. One of the things mentioned is something I've been told before: I need to make eye contact with the audience. My inner sasser said, "Eye contact? But I grew up with a blind mother." This morning I remembered third grade and Mr. Herle. Mom went down to the school to talk to him because I was being teased in class. She understood the playground couldn't be closely monitored but felt he should have more control of his students when they were inside the classroom. I watched from a window. Mr. Herle shuffled papers on his desk and walked around the room. Mom kept right on talking and followed his every move by turning her head. If you didn't know better, you'd think she was following him with her eyes. She was of course using her ears. He did sit down and pay attention. I don't remember if the teasing got better but the day I saw my mother make eye contact has left a great impression. Next week I get another chance and I hope I get it right.