Whether you are “heck yeah” or a bit of a “heck maybe” about the start of another year, I know from experiencing years that went way better than planned (as well as from surviving those that drained me like the seasonal flu) that one chief factor that influenced the outcome was my network.
Yes, having a clear vision was important. So was having an equally clear plan for how to pursue said vision. As was having a positive mindset that kept me on my path even when it felt like the universe was sending me an endless sea of opportunities to get off of it.
And above all of these…during the years where I felt like I was making epic strides in my career and business – and making the world a bit better through my service in it – I had an engaged team of cheerleaders, connectors, mentors and decision makers bringing opportunities my way.
To clarify succinctly, a cheerleader is someone who peps you up when you feel frustrated or downright downtrodden. A cheerleader reminds you that you are worthy of great things simply for being human – and that as a human you are pretty amazing.
A connector is someone who knows the people you need face time with in order to achieve success – and your connectors enjoy, well, connecting you with these folks.
Mentors are people who are two, three, sometimes four or five steps ahead of where you are seeking to be, who understand the path you are on and who can share their learning and best practices to shorten your curve to success.
Finally, a decision maker is someone who has the power to green light opportunities for you. Whether it’s a funder, an HR leader or a high-profile entrepreneur, decision makers are the people who usually help you get paid.
I know that I need a minimum of three, and ideally four or five people, in each of these roles for me to be set up for professional success. Yes, that means I have a personal board of advisors, if you will, comprised of 12-20 people at all times. I don’t convene these folks nor do most of them know that I have placed them in a special category on a special list, but our relationships and their actions justify their placement.
Who are the cheerleaders, connectors, mentors and decision makers on your personal board of advisors?
If you are seeking to do more speaking, it’s important that you have friends, family and colleagues as cheerleaders. And hopefully, you have built up a nutritious community around you. If not, please make this a priority in the year ahead.
Just as importantly, you want to prioritize building relationships with people who are speaking (in your industry and in affiliated industries), organizing events and hiring speakers to fill your connector, mentor and decision maker spots.
Some of these roles can be paid. You can hire a coach, join a professional association, work with a publicist…yet most of these roles are best served by people you build genuine, mutually beneficial relationships with. You are investing time, energy, head and heart space and goodwill versus heaps of money.
For this reason I have opted to kick-off the new year by hosting four prominent speaking event organizers for a ONE-TIME ONLY virtual jam session, Step Into the Spotlight, to share with you EXACTLY:
- What event organizers look for in speakers
- How to be in-demand as a speaker
- How to wow a live event audience, and
- How to effectively position yourself for speaking opportunities.
When I started befriending fellow speakers, connecting with organizers of conferences and events as well as HR and corporate leaders, I was able to spend less time “pitching” myself and more time allowing speaking and training opportunities to come my way.
If you want to build your speaking network, and learn straight from the lips of those who curate speakers what you can do to accelerate your speaking career, please join me on Tuesday, January 12th at 10am pacific (1pm eastern) for 1.5 hours as my panelists: Melody Biringer (CRAVE’s Urban Campfire), Claudia Chan (S.H.E. Summit), Stewart Scott-Curran (CreativeMornings), Dr. Bret Simmons (TEDx) and I dish – and we field YOUR specific questions.
When you sign-up for Step Into the Spotlight (which is a FREE virtual event), I’ll also email you some speaker development goodies, like my Create Your 2016 Speaking Vision (because yes, while your network is super duper important, so is knowing where you would like to go!)