The Tour of Firsts
“Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret.” Though it was Oscar Wilde who said this – let me tell you, I couldn’t agree more… and I certainly don’t regret the traveling I’ve been up to lately!
In my life, I have been honored to help multiple theatre companies launch brand new theatres by directing their inaugural shows. I take the role very seriously as I know their first production sets the entire tone and standards for what audiences should expect from this new company. It really could make or break them.
No pressure right?
Well, the last few months, I had the honor of helping out three (3) conferences with their first in-person events! It was exciting to meet with each team and hear how I could support their goals, vision and launch it into this beautiful world.
As speakers, this starts with understanding we are always a reflection on the companies who have hired us. We have the pleasure of holding the event’s aspirations in our hands and voice and bringing it to fruition with our actions. I want to share with you some insight on how we did just that and pull back the curtain on the conference experience – from a speaker’s point of view.
The first event was Appy Camp. Built for Intentional Educators, our goal was to create a space of open vulnerability and growth for the attendees. In hiring speakers, we focused on folks who would be able to foster that safe space through their message – whether that was a workshop with a meditation session or an educational keynote with a much deeper story attached. When it came to my closing session, I wanted to make sure to bring the attendees out of their comfort zone so I trained them on the power of non-verbal communication skills and body language. By the end of it, we were all laughing so hard that we were crying. Watching each person take risks, lean in, and fully embrace their abilities was truly an honor. And it also took place where Dirty Dancing was filmed, which was an added bonus!
Up next was Gusto Next in Denver, where the aim was to connect the dots for success. The dots being your clients, your firm, people, and data. The company’s mission was to inspire and make the audience feel like they were being hugged. How great is that mission!!! I also got to see and support some of our Theatre of Public Speaking Alumni running incredible sessions throughout the 2 phenomenal days of conferencing!
My closing keynote topic was Light Switch Your Anxiety. In service of the goal, I wanted to help anyone in that audience who was struggling with self doubt to realize they have everything within them to succeed, including the amazing ability to lean into their voice. I also wanted to let them know they were not alone in their journey for success.
Like at most conferences, each speaker had a tech check – an opportunity to test the mic levels, explore the stage, and practice using their slides on the big screen. These are fun opportunities to get to know the awesome, talented humans behind the scenes that are there to help you succeed. Tech checks often present technical difficulties, making it a safe space to test and adjust all of your tech needs. It is imperative to arrive with patience and the knowledge of what you need. Don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions. Everyone is on the same team!
To reinforce the support they have, I had Gusto leaders, peers, thought leaders, and influencers join me on stage during my keynote so the audience could see the amazing people they are surrounded by who are here to be in service to them. Physical hugs, verbal hugs, and virtual hugs were sent from the stage❤️
Next, I was in San Diego for the 1st Intuit Tax Advisor Summit. The goal was to inspire the thought leaders in attendance to lean into their power of helping the profession move towards advisory.
With that in mind, my beautiful friend and Theatre of Public Speaking Alumnus, Mariette Martinez, and I taught a 70 minute workshop called Snapshot your Social. The focus was on social media, building out your public facing brand that aligns with who you are at the core, and how you can inspire others through your social presence.
I love a collaborative presentation! It brings a whole new level of fun to the process, though it does take a good amount of planning. Mariette and I started preparing at least two and a half months prior to presentation day. We worked through our ideas and content, then rehearsed both individually and together. A big part of practicing with a partner is working on your transitions between one another – when and how to pass the mic in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow of your content. It takes clear communication to ensure you’re both reaching your goals and hitting your unique talking points while serving the same context in a united presentation.
Our engagement activities helped our audience define their brand in three words through snapshot images posted on the wall, and they chose the one they resonated with. You can see a bunch of them shared on social media if you look at the hashtag #IntuitTaxAdvisorSummit.
As I settle in at home for a few days before my next venture, I can’t help but watch this recap video of my last couple months and reflect on the wonderful humans I met along the way and on the missions we worked to bring to life.
What I know for sure is as speakers, we are in service of helping others succeed and exploring all the possibilities their voice has to offer. We are blessed with the opportunities to share the insights we’ve gathered along the way.❤️
And when we align the attendees’ needs, the conference’s mission, and where our experience can help, then that’s where the true magic happens.