I was recently asked to give a talk for a pop-up shop for Square (a payment processing system for small businesses) and it seemed like fate, being almost exactly a year since I last gave a talk at London Edge. Being paid to talk is always an exciting, but nervewracking experience, and this is perhaps my 8th talk I think? I always enjoy it, but it pretty intimidating!
So I hopped onto the train to Brimingham, pretty chuffed that I'd remembered to reserve a spot with a phone charger. Nothing worse than being stuck on a train without the ability to connect!
I took the time to write out my notes, I don't tend to plan what I'm going to say, just make some guiding bullet points, to ensure I cover everything, and don't get too lost. It was a relaxed set-up, so I knew this would be sufficent. I used to be a primary teacher, so talking to a room of people used to be my full time job!
I always start by explaining a bit about who I am, and my career journey. I was a pretty unambitious teen, and at 21 decided to become a primary teacher. Eventually I switched to a secondary school librarian, and at this time I took a part time job in a cabaret club. I was blogging and using forums as a hobby, and this eventually led me to deciding to try and work for myself.
In 2011 I launched a lipstick brand, and then in 2012 I opened a hair salon. I'm neither a make-up artist nor a hairdresser. I wasn't really sure at all at my skill set back then, but now over 6 years later, I'd say I'm good at marketing, branding and the administration that comes with business. I've also worked for 12 months in a digital marketing agency.
When I give a talk, I like to offer a small roadmap at the beginning, so people know what is coming. I explain that I would cover what to say (and who to say it to), where to say it, and what is worth measuring.
I then listed each social platform; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Snapchat and shared my feelings, experience and advice for each. Spoiler alert......I still adore twitter. Hardcore.
People who give professional talks fear a sea of blank faces, and so I was so grateful for the smiling, nodding and engaged people listening to me. I also really appreciated when people came up to me at the end to say how useful they found it. I always think that because I seem confident, people often believe I don't need feedback. We all need to know if we do well!