Osmond Hears With His Heart

Justin Osmond was born with a 90 percent hearing loss.

Imagine that, especially if you were born the son of Merrill Osmond, the lead singer of the world-renowned Osmonds.

Justin, who spoke to the NFPW 2013 conference, said “Imagine life without sound.” As he continued to “speak” the audience could see his lips moving but could hear nothing but the sound of silence.

“That’s what my life was like without hearing aids,” he said as he raised his voice.

Today one in five teenagers has a documented hearing loss, in part, because of the prevalent use of ear buds and playing music on mp3 players too loudly, Justin said.

His hearing lost presented challenges for him, but he chose to challenge his limits. He recognizes his hearing loss and said, “It’s okay. It’s who I am.”

He added, “I have a hearing loss, but that hearing loss does not have me. “

Justin Osmond learned to keep the beat by watching his brother's bow.

Justin Osmond learned to keep the beat by watching his brother’s bow. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

As he smiled and joked with the audience, he shared other popular sayings that contribute to his positive outlook. For example, “If there are no ups and downs in life, it means you are dead.”

He spoke of becoming more assertive and also of service. “Whatever your profession, always make time to help others, to serve one another.” Because of his hearing loss, he established the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, in honor of his late grandmother.

A video he shared showed the many faces of the children the fund has helped. Dry eyes were few in the audience as it watched children receive the gift of being able to hear for the first time. Their faces beamed and they laughed as they came to hear sound.

Justin encouraged the audience to never give up. “You may have a challenge but don’t let those challenges have you.”

As a young boy, Justin learned to play the violin. He could feel the vibrations along his jaw line. However, when he performed with his brothers, he wasn’t sure if he was keeping the beat. Then he struck on the idea to watch his brother’s bow – and he kept the beat.

Justin recently wrote a book, Hearing with My Heart, in which he shares his story with the world in order to help everyone understand the struggles of living with a hearing loss and how to overcome it.

How to Give a Successful Presentation

Whew! The 2013 NFPW Conference has ended.

Normally, I would be quite sad about that and missing all my friends. This year, though, I agreed to give two presentations, and I was scrambling to be ready. Overall, I think they went well (although that’s up to the audience members to really say).

The most difficult part of a presentation – at least for me – isn’t actually giving the presentation, it’s getting it started. I give my fair share of presentations so I thought I’d share a few tips that I have learned along the way.

Define your purpose. What do you want your audience to get from the presentation? Once I’ve determined that, I write it down and keep it front and center as I am preparing. I also focus on how I can explain my points, and, if I’m able to, entertain them a bit. I’m not a comedian, but I find sharing personal anecdotes makes a presentation more human.

Prepare and then prepare some more. For both of my presentations at NFPW, I did hours of research. Not all of it went into the presentation but I wanted to be able to answer any audience questions. I took a day off from work to research and begin organizing my notes. It helped to have a day of uninterrupted time to pull my research and thoughts together.

Simplify. With my purpose clearly defined, I went out of my way to stay on point and to keep the presentation as direct and impactful as possible. I wasn’t trying to impress with fancy slideshows. I wanted to convey information.

Know your audience. With NFPW, I know the audience is going to ask lots of questions. Participants will range from novices to veterans. I always look forward to a veteran member sharing additional information with me – and my audience. Many times I prefer to speak without a PowerPoint presentation because I like to engage and interact with my audience. At NFPW, I chose to use PowerPoint, because I know members are attending lots of sessions and gaining lots of information. Having a few (not hundreds) of slides on which key points are listed, helps to focus an audience. And I never read from slides.

Practice. I do a few practice runs of a presentation to ensure that timing works. I also review the material again to confirm that I am staying true to my objective. If I have time, I ask someone to review it or let me run through it with them. Invariably, I find a few things to tweak.