Are you starting to get that “holiday” feeling? I am… especially sitting here and thinking about writing an article to share with you. The one thing I don’t want to write about is the whole “How have you done with your goals this year” topic. It’s not like we need to be told to reflect. It just naturally happens when the end of the year rolls around.
Besides, this year isn’t over yet! So there’s no reason to stop pursuing speaking opportunities until next year. In fact, this is a perfect time of year to embrace a specific sub-group of speaking opportunities that are always around. These aren’t the formal conversations and exchanges that take place when we’re trying to secure big stage opportunities. Nope. These are opportunities that pop up as the result of us simply being willing to have conversations with people.
Sometimes, as speakers, we get so focused on the big stage that we don’t even realize how many chances we get to make an impression outside of those formal opportunities where the goal is to impress. Conversational small talk is different. It's more of a give-and-take conversation… which means we might have to take off our speaker hat and work on extending our small-talk comfort zone. Why? Because:
You just never know who you’re going to run into, be
introduced to, or have the opportunity to impress!
So, while you’re starting to formulate your speaking goals for next year (like crafting a couple of new elevator pitches, creating a new presentation, kicking up your networking, finding a new Meetup group (or two), scheduling more one-to-one coffee chats with people you’ve just met, etc.), remember that this time of year is full of small-talk situations that could lead to big-time speaking opportunities. For example, while you’re doing your holiday shopping, you never know who might be in front or back of you in line. I’m not suggesting you should talk to everybody, just reminding you that there is an abundance of small-talk speaking opportunities at this time of year.
- Holiday parties – It’s definitely easier to talk to the same people you always talk to, but why not stretch you’re comfort zone and speak to someone new? Once again, you never know who you might meet!
- What about holiday dinners and get-togethers? When was the last time you struck up a conversation with the aunt, uncle, or cousin you only see a couple times a year? Ask them what they’ve been up to, and have your conversational answer ready when they ask you what you’ve been up to.
- Volunteer to make a toast! A toast is a mini speech prepared and delivered with the goal of creating those “warm fuzzies” people love to feel. Toasts are a great way to let people see a different side of you. They’re also excellent small steps that can warm you up for future podium opportunities. (There’s a link to a great article about toasts below.)
Taking advantage of the smaller speaking opportunities you’ve identified during this holiday season is an excellent way to position yourself to take bigger steps in 2020. My personal challenge to you is to take advantage of them while they’re here, and then start the new year using that momentum to tackle a speaking goal you’ve been putting off. You’re already moving in the right direction and have every right to be proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished so far. Now it’s just a matter of lining up your steps so that each step is a success in and of itself.
You can do this! I know you can. Just remember that there’s no rule that says you have to figure out how to do it all on your own. That’s why I’m here… to help you work out the details.