Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. Carolyn Roberts passionately supports the goals of Soroptimist and has been a member for nine years; she has served as a local club president and now serves on the regional board.
While planning a trip to attend the regional Soroptimist conference in Omaha, Nebraska, Roberts became interested in touring the nearby town of Winterset in Madison County, Iowa. Winterset is the birthplace of legendary actor John Wayne and is home to many covered bridges, including the famous covered bridge featured in the movie The Bridges of Madison County. Roberts gauged the interest of fellow conference-goers and found a Soroptimist member from Winterset to conduct a tour. Sixteen women signed up for the optional tour.
During an outdoor tour, various factors such as wind, noise, the distance between participants and the tour guide, and competing conversations can create a challenging listening environment. Tour guides may strain their voices trying to project, and participants may find it difficult to hear clearly and engage.
Roberts understood the hearing challenges they faced and strove to enhance the tour and make it more enjoyable for the participants. She reached out to her son-in-law, Carl Brewer – an Engineering Manager at Listen Technologies – for a solution. He recommended the portable, two-way communication system, ListenTALK, to improve their tour. Brewer prepared a demo of a 16-unit ListenTALK system for Soroptimist to use for their tour.
The day of the tour, Roberts met with the tour group in the hotel lobby and handed out ListenTALK transceivers (combination transmitters/receivers). The participants wore the units comfortably around their neck via a lanyard and plugged in their own earbuds. The group drove two hours to Winterset in a rented 15-passenger van and four other cars traveling separately. By the end of the six hour tour, the group had visited five covered bridges and swung by the John Wayne Birthplace Museum, and still had battery life to spare on their transceivers.
Implementing ListenTALK for this tour successfully improved the tour experience. “I was so impressed that when the group was wandering around and somewhat scattered, you could still hear the leader,” said Roberts. “It was amazing. ListenTALK was such a great tool on our tour because it was cold and windy [that day]; otherwise, we would not have been able to hear or pay attention to our guide,” she continued. Another participant explained that the ability to walk away from the group to take pictures and still hear the tour guide made the multi-stop tour more efficient and saved time. The group loved being able to communicate with each other from separate vehicles and was thrilled with the audio quality. One Soroptimist member exclaimed, “The voices were so clear that I kept looking over my shoulder for the person who was speaking.”
Because everyone deserves the same great experience.