1. Your speaking product is unique to you.
Identifying your unique speaking product takes a bit of detective work. It probably won’t be the first thing you think of, and may not even be directly related to your job description. Your speaking product is more likely to reflect the unique way you think about the world or your role. For example, as a speaker coach, when I’m asked to talk at conferences, it might seem obvious to give (say) five top tips for public speaking. But plenty of others can cover this. I need to find out what I offer that is different.
2. Dive beneath the surface to understand what you really care about.
To tune into your speaking product, reflect on your personal values and identify how they show up in your work. One of my values is that we learn to move, speak and make choices in alignment with what we believe in. I want my audience to know, not just that a good talk can be career and life-changing, but that there is a method to doing it well so their idea grows. Rather than “How to be a more confident speaker” which has limited longevity, one of my key topics is “How to use speaking products so the thing you most want to see happen in the world, does”.
3. Ask your colleagues what you do that they think is special.
Many professionals I coach for industry conferences say, “I don’t know why I was chosen. I’m not special.” They feel they are just ordinary people doing an ordinary job. If you have similar concerns, ask others what they see in you. Then dig deeper to find out what you offer that is worthwhile and valuable. Often, this will be more related to the “how” than the “what”. For example, when I coached an engineer to speak at a 1000-person conference on gender diversity, he initially didn’t think he had done anything special – so we asked his colleagues. Their words revealed just how impactful this engineer’s work had been to improving diversity in a very traditionally male sector. We were then able to articulate this so all 1000 people at the conference could learn too.
Rachael West is a strategic speaker coach, facilitator and social entrepreneur. She loves helping engineers, scientists and people with something important to tell the world, craft a meaningful, engaging presentation they can use again and again to help their field shine. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
**Image credit: Henderson Graphics for TEDx Bunbury 2017