Did you imagine a career as a “Public Speaker”?
Many of my friends and colleagues call themselves “public speakers”. It seems that there is a fast-growing trend where everyone is a public speaker or an author. Or maybe that is just happening in my little bubble.
We all imagine great things in our future as children. I remember seeing myself as this amazing healer. I was going to put bandages on everyone to make them better. It was only when my mother explained all of the blood and guts part that I no longer wanted to be a nurse or doctor. None the less, I had big plans to make a difference in the world by helping people.
Something I never imagined doing was being a public speaker. An author… sure, but definitely not a speaker. Listening to inspirational speakers share personal stories of a tough journey and how they came out the other side a better, stronger person made a big impact on me. More than being an inspiration or a speaker, I wanted to go through a tough journey to live a great story and share it. That was the beginning of my interest in storytelling.
Meeting a Great Storyteller
While working at a summer camp as a teenager, I met a professional storyteller. He wasn’t a public speaker, but a storyteller. This man collected the folklore of his community and shared those stories with the children. He had a clear aim to share lessons they could learn from each story. Isn’t that beautiful?
As silly as it sounds, I was star struck by this man. Not only was he a phenomenal storyteller through his words, inflection in his voice, and body movements, but he was also sharing a sort of history of the town. It was awesome. Trust me. The best part is that he was PAID to be a storyteller. Unlike the other “celebrities” I had met, this guy was friendly and grounded in the real world. I was sold on the idea that I was going to be a professional storyteller since that first summer.
So What am I Now? A Speaker or Storyteller?
Seventeen years, many stories, and bumps along the way later… here I am. Like so many of my fellow small business owners and entrepreneurs, I get caught up with the day to day work and experiences. Sometimes I need to hit the pause button, step back, and take a look at the timeline. It was during one of these reflective moments that I realized something profound about my own story – I have always been a storyteller. It’s inherent in me to hear, write, and share stories. I can’t tell you when I started or when it became a “thing” for me, telling stories is natural. We all do it.
Instead of learning local folklore or history, I’ve acquired the stories of small businesses and their owners. They are some of the most interesting people I have ever met, and their stories range from the simple to the obscure. I have been given the privilege of developing working relationships with so many small business owners and their teams in a role of being their content marketing consultant (and super connector). While I did not plan for things to work out this way, they have unfolded for me day by day over the past 4 years. For this journey, I am forever grateful.
Being a Public Speaker / Storyteller
Every so often, I am asked to speak with groups around town about content marketing and all of the sub-set tactics of that umbrella: social media, blogging, marketing analytics, (I love spreadsheets and charts. Don’t judge). It may sound dry to some people, but content / stories and how we share them with the world can be really interesting to dig into.
This isn’t the first or last chapter in my story of being a “public speaker” or storyteller. I’m at an in between place right now. It’s a fun and scary transition where I’m fully aware of my power to guide the next steps, so I invite you to join me at one of these upcoming events. Let’s talk about your business, your stories, or something bigger. Once we decide to have a conversation, our stories will be intertwined on some level. I may introduce you to someone who will change your life. You may share an insight that shifts my direction. We are learning lessons from each other’s stories!
Summer Speaking Events
Tuesday June 6th 2017
6:00pm at Mister Tramps
Social Media Panel
Friday, August 11th 2017
11:30am at North by Northwest Stonelake
Lunch & Learn | Find Your Tribe: A Guide to Effective Market Research
If you want to connect with me or talk about other opportunities for storytelling or speaking, please comment below or contact me directly.