I’ve been wanting to break the code on what it takes to sit with the cool kids since I was 35 (didn’t matter so much before). Countless professional development books, articles, newsletters and (free) courses point a budding entrepreneur toward networking, pitching, and generally “getting out there.” Then, tossing the essential social media into the mix, blehhhh. Networking and outreach efforts are resembling talent shows and popularity contests more each day. So as I hope for Ancestors unKnown to be noticed within a sea of noticeable work, I’ve occasionally wished for a louder voice and bolder approach. And maybe some street cred?
Short of changing my personality from introvert to extrovert, and significantly upping my coolness factor, I’ve been looking for input on how to play a better entrepreneur game.
One consistent piece of advice: be a speaker. If you give talks and host workshops, you build and share expertise, gain an audience and credibility, and (appreciated bonus!) earn some money.
I had some doubts. Mainly, I wasn’t sure if topics that interest me would be enough to make people want to leave their homes, travel to some place, sit in a chair, and look at/listen to me for any period of time. Why would they do that? And to make matters even more disconcerting, lectures in the Netherlands would place my language insecurity on blast. So now I’m getting people to sit in chairs and listen to me speak about something only remotely interesting, but exclusively in my language? Blehhhh.
In spite of my doubts and hesitation, I’ve been dabbling in the speaking game, hosting workshops and giving some talks in the US and NL on topics like family history and identity development. And it actually feels like a sensible next step for me. No, surprisingly not silly or embarrassing.
These speaking gigs are providing opportunities to share my work and connect with supportive, new audiences. And most of them have given me a feeling that I imagine cool kids feel – validation from strangers, maybe.
Taking matters a step further, I applied to join a local speaker’s bureau that would serve somewhat as an agent and help me get more bookings. And well, the bold step paid off when I was invited to join Zij Spreekt, a speaker’s bureau for women in the Netherlands! Check me out on their site:
That’s right! Just add Speaking to the list of skills you associate with me.