The Challenge of Speaking

5 years ago by in Featured Articles, Leadership, Social Media

I am no expert.

Despite this, I am asked to speak as part of online – and offline – social media and social business events. I am flattered my track record and previous (and current work) experience makes people want to talk to me. Not only that, I really love what I do so talking to people about social business – not in theory but in practice – is something I enjoy doing. I also think it’s great for my employer as we get to talk about everything we’re doing to engage and ignite engagement in social for H&R Block.

One of the challenges I always face before I speak on a panel or present a case study is maintain my “real” personality. When you do these things, sometimes you can get caught up in the materials and forget to be yourself. Sure, it’s easy to interact with folks via social but it’s quite different doing it in person.

Me, I thrive on speaking in the public forum. I’m very comfortable with the success my teams and I have had over the years and I love teaching. When I attend an event and speak on a panel, as I will next week in New York, I thrive on the conversation. Despite being a digital native and a gadget freak, nothing gets my juices flowing like speaking in public and interactive with a group.

The challenge I’ve found with events is most presenters don’t feel comfortable and often, I believe, don’t allow themselves to be, well, themselves.

Because the rise of social business is a sort of modern-day gold rush, there are lots of charlatans and a folks on the circuit who don’t act themselves. They’re putting on an act.

That’s unfortunate because I run into lots of great business folks that are just want to learn how to use this great information revolution to help themselves do their job better. Those that don’t actually give them simple and actionable ways to go do just that.

There are some better-known speakers like Jason Falls who does a great job of staying true to himself and presenting his information in a way that’s digestible by social professionals at any level. He’s true to himself and people can feel that.

All of these conferences and shows where social business strategists, thought leaders and “experts” speak – we have a responsibility to not just highlight our own accomplishments, but instead help others succeed.

Are we doing that enough?

I will stay true to myself. I’m not an A-lister in the world of social media speaking, and that’s just fine. If I can help one person do their job better and prove out the power of social business, then I’ve done what I set out to do.

It’s the professional classroom so I take it personally.




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