Public Speaking: ‘I wrote a blog and I liked it’

18th March 2016

My first foray into public speaking: ‘I wrote a blog and l liked it’

signage on notice board

The story of how I made my first venture into public speaking is quite a long one. So if you’re sitting comfortably – then I’ll begin:

Having set-up my AA Editorial Services business late in 2104, the start of 2015 saw me still on the nursery slopes of being a small-business owner. Unfortunately that period also saw me hit with a series of health and domestic issues that sent me flying off-piste in spectacular fashion. By the time I’d got myself regrouped 2015 was half over.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, as a result of all those difficulties, I’d rather lost my business focus. So, with the last quarter of the year approaching, I took the decision to employ the services of a business mentor: Rob Moody of Insight Sales & Business Mentoring. I’d known Rob for nigh on two years at this point so felt confident about investing money in his services.

The AA Editorial Services Strategic Plan or ‘why’

Already well-known in Swindon for my Born again Swindonian blog, Rob came up with a number of ideas to help me build on that personal profile and to join up the dots between that and my business persona.

Rob is a great ideas person – and that was fabulous for me because I’m not. You could say that I’m more of a finisher than a problem solver.

Over the course of several meetings Rob came up with a whole host of ideas and then we worked out which ones I’d put into practice first. And one of these ideas was public speaking – giving a talk.  Being far more in touch with popular culture than I am Rob came up with what I thought was a cracking talk title: ‘I wrote a blog and I liked it’ –with the not so snappy subheading ‘What I learned about Swindon by blogging about it, how that blogging built me a public profile and how blogging could do the same for you too.’

Now I won’t lie – it was with trepidation that I agreed to put public speaking into my strategy. But I could see that, if absolutely nothing else, it would be good personal development. So, along with writing articles, developing my website and assorted other tactics and sales tips, we agreed I’d give a talk.

The how and the where

So having agreed that there was a valid ‘why do this’ to the talk the next things to consider were writing the thing and finding and audience.

The latter of those – the ‘where’ was straightforward. I’ve recently become involved with Swindon Civic Voice and they agreed to give me a forum at one of their monthly public meetings – they regularly have speakers at these events.

Now to the ‘how’. Rob mentored me every step of the way with this – even to attending the talk to give me moral support and to take some photographs. Which was wonderful – plus, if I really dried up, he could do the talk himself!

Clearly I wrote the talk myself but not after input from Rob about how to structure the talk, at what points to bring it back to the audience and so on. We revised it together until we’d decided we’d got a good talk and then it was down to me to practice it. Gulp.

He also gave me tons of useful pointers about the delivery of the talk – not just the content itself.

So how did it go?

Twenty or more people turned out and paid to listen to me – and they weren’t even all people that I knew.

Once I got going with it – I actually quite enjoyed it. It helped that I had a friendly audience and knowing that nothing important was hinging on it.

So I’m very glad I did it. More people now are aware of my business persona but more importantly doing it has boosted my confidence no end.

And at risk of sounding like the Rob Moody Fan Club – I really couldn’t have done it and felt so comfortable about it without his help.

While I’m thanking people I must also mention  fellow Women Mean Biz member Julie Nicholls of Body Mind Coaching. She was a terrific help with her EMDR:

And finally – here it all is:

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