A few weeks ago, I shared my very best advice for any speaker at any level. This week, I’m talking to the women just getting started. For every woman who is interested in sharing her story, teaching what she’s learned and encouraging others through the spoken word, there’s one very best thing she should do: START. The fuller version of my best advice for new and aspiring speakers is this: Start where you are.
Over the dozen years I worked at Women of Faith, the half-dozen years I’ve worked with Women of Joy and the women I’ve taught or coached individually through SpeakHer Coach, I’ve talked with literally hundreds of women who feel a nudge in their spirits to pursue speaking. They look at the speakers on those big platforms, encouraging and inspiring thousands and want to use their stories and messages to do the same.
Those national stage speakers provide a picture of a level of impact we can all aspire to. And we should. But what you can’t see in that moment is the years those speakers spent refining their craft and content, growing their tribes, putting in the reps and working their way to the stages you see them on today. No one starts there.
- Patsy Clairmont got her start doing book reviews at women’s conferences.
- Sheila Walsh had an established and successful career as a musical artist and television host.
- Anita Renfroe was funny at her own church before she ever started having the opportunity to delight audiences in other places.
- Angie Smith engaged with thousands through her own blog before she started speaking live.
Aside from people who may be thrust into the national spotlight because of a remarkable story or experience that gets that level of experience, every speaker you know today started out unknown. She started in much smaller ways in much smaller places. She started where she was. As she mastered each level and served audiences well, she got another opportunity. And another. Until she got to the place where you saw her speak.
Wherever you are today, if you have a desire to share your story to encourage or inspire through public speaking, get started. And start where you are. Give your absolute best at every opportunity. Master your content and your craft. Help and serve as best you can. When you do that, more opportunities will come your way. I guarantee it.
If you’re not sure where to start or if you can get past the butterflies in your stomach to actually speak up, I’d like to invite you to check out my new workshop, Speak with Confidence. It’s a 3-part mini-course designed to help women face their fear of public speaking by learning the mindset and skillset needed to speak with confidence. Right now, I’m launching the pilot run of the course at a 50% discount for women who want to be part of building something that’s impactful for them as well as all the women who will come after. I’d love to have you with us! Get all the details here.