We All Have An Opportunity To Come From The Back To The Front
People who may normally be seen as quiet or not as chatty as others, can still have their rightful place at the front.
Let me highlight my own story. It started as someone more comfortable being at the back of the room to become someone with the confidence to address people on the stage in a theatre (which I was meant to do at the Regent Centre, Christchurch but ended up at a bar due to power cut 30 minutes beforehand).
We tend to assume that the best presenters are extroverts, full of boundless energy. That just isn’t me.
15 years into my business life, once I figured out what had been holding me back from my childhood days, I made a conscious decision to get out there and to be seen more.
I am a techie at heart, why would I be going to marketing events? It was precisely that first step that I came across someone pacing back and forth, talking at 100 miles per hour about topics that I half understood, and the rest I just nodded and pretended I knew.
I continued to lurk at the back but over time it felt easier to interact and even get drawn into discussions and share experiences in front of people.
I even made a live link back to a YATM occasion from Barcelona, whilst being pickpocketed in my personal distraction (when the event was held at Media Lounge). A good learning experience for all. Always zip your passport and wallet away!
When you find “your tribe”, which is diverse and supportive, it can help bring people through, at their own pace. All those snippets of confidence boosts came together where I was able to suggest that I could do a talk in front of the group, about me, in December 2019.
Sounds quite brazen and self-indulgent when I put it like that. In fact, the talk was given and received in an open and genuine way. I was quite surprised that the bookings reached 120 people, doubling the usual numbers.
As an introvert, when you receive positive comments from the group, it’s easy to shy away. The more we can accept them the better we can become. It all goes to improve the group.
I’ve seen the group now turn into something that has global reach. It has allowed me to schedule video calls with revered marketers such as Andrew Davis, Mark Schaefer and Carla Johnson. All guests of You Are The Media Online (this began when lockdown started). The near instant credibility afforded by being a member of You Are The Media opened those doors.
In the old world, we would have had to travel the world, watch the industry ‘celebs’ talk at various conferences, take a selfie with them, tag them, “at” them and only after a few more times may they remember us enough to interact, let alone give up an hour of their time.
Forget the gold rush to wanting to deliver TED talks, let’s do Ted Lasso style talks where we champion the quiet ones and those that have had hurdles to overcome after which they can thrive. I guess that’s what I try to do, as that used to be me.
We all need to stand up for the underdog in ourselves. When you do, you can bring your authentic self to the front of the stage. That is a good place for all of us.