Public Speaker in “Not Been Through Adversity” SHOCKER!
Are you wanting to speak at events and to reach a wider audience, but don’t know how to market yourself to the event organisers?
A frustration to me when I first came in to this wonderful world of coaching and speaking was that everyone seemed to have a ‘story’. That, and a lot of speaking coaches are out there telling you that you have to sell your story to sell yourself. In some ways, they’re not wrong .. there’s a lot of being an ‘inspirational speaker’ out there that seems to involve that. However, if you’re anything like me, you end up sitting there listening to drama after crisis (before selling course after course) and thinking “I wish my life had been worse!”
Do you sometimes look around and feel a bit inferior, thinking, ‘what have I go to offer?’ when everyone else seems to have had such a rise from adversity? Whether their challenge be dyslexia, poverty, abuse, war, disability, prejudice, illness, redundancy, debt, being a single mum and creating a successful business ….. whatever it is, you see a public speaker and you often see them sold by their story.
Please don’t get me wrong here, this isn’t about putting anyone else down, and we ALL have our story. I take my hat off to EVERY ONE of those people who has been through whatever kind of personal hell and are still here, made a success out of themselves and are sharing it to help others. I encourage everyone who is going through their own kind of hell to look up, to see those people who have gone before them and are speaking about it, and I hope it inspires the hell out of, and the hope in to, you.
But when you want to speak, and feel that your life-story just isn’t that dramatic, when you don’t want to sell your story to sell yourself, you can start to think – ‘what can I tell the organisers to make them want to invite me?’ I’ve been through stuff, of course, we all have. I know some people who think I’ve been through a lot, to me it doesn’t feel like it was ever particularly adverse, and so many others have had a hell of a lot worse!
But as someone (attributed to many) once said “comparison is the thief of all joy.”
If we compare ourselves to others, thinking they have it bigger, better, worse, more, than me …. then we won’t get up and do anything. Am I going to sell myself by my story? In some ways it’s relevant and maybe even by sharing this I’m helping someone else who feels like they suffer by comparison, like their life isn’t dramatic enough – “Damn! If only I’d had a near death experience!” It’s OK .. you can speak at events too.
At the end of the day, I grew up on National Trust land in Surrey with ponies in the back garden. An Irish dad who drank, of course (nothing like fulfilling a stereo-type), and had affairs, so was a bit of a crap husband and father, but I encouraged mum to divorce him when I was 14, so you know, it worked out alright!
Ultimately, I’m a single, middle-aged, middle-class, white woman who doesn’t have children or a “hell and back” story to sell to get myself speaking gigs. So what do I do?
I sell what I know, the transformation I create for others, the skills I have, the angle I take on what I do, the connection I have with my audience, the experience the audience receive and what they take away – I believe that I have something to say that’s worth hearing.
Do I have a deeper, personal, story? Yes. Will I tell it? Yes. Do I know my story and use some of it when I’m speaking – occasionally. Do I use it to sell me as a speaker? No.
Why? Mostly because, as I said above, I believe there are people out there with amazing stories that are truly inspirational – and I’m blessed that some of those people are my friends. I’m not an ‘inspirational speaker’ – I’m a speaker whose work can inspire others to change their lives .. and that makes the difference to me.
I’ve come to the conclusion, it’s simple really. I’m not selling ME. It’s not about how life has affected me, it’s about the affect I can have on the lives of others.
You want to speak but don’t think you have a strong enough story? Who cares? If what you are speaking about can help me change my life, then I want to hear you.
So, for now, this middle-aged, middle-class, white woman has something to share and say! (and it’s not about children, money, or health … it’s about how YOU can find YOUR voice.)
Don’t let your fear that you’re not enough stop you ….
What would you speak about if you knew someone would listen and it would enhance their life?
Let me know in the comments below.
Words Make Waves: Speak With The Power Of Your Whole Voice