You know I usually offer suggestions in my weekly note to you. Whether they’re about speaking or networking or marketing, there’s almost always something concrete for you to put into practice. Something that will help you make a bigger splash and get better results.
This week, I’m looking for suggestions from you.
Chances are good you’ve heard me speak sometime along the way. It was about how to have a more powerful professional presence. Or what to say about yourself and your work to get attention, keep it, and lay the groundwork for a profitable relationship. Or how to have real impact on the phone or a web-based platform.
Although I weave in plenty of stories about my experience speaking in person and on the radio, the focus when I’m speaking is not me. Instead, I keep the spotlight on the audience, their work, and what I can share with them to help them communicate more effectively and be more successful.
And of course, I coach my clients to keep their focus on their audience. So they offer real value when they’re speaking, and not just a bunch of me-me-me-I-I-I.
All of which makes it a bit awkward, the advice I’m getting from speakers who are smarter and more successful than me.
This be-a-better-communicator stuff is fine, they say. But what people really want to hear is the inside scoop on my radio days. The people who played a part in them. And the tough transition to a whole new career when broadcasting caved in for me.
In other words, these experts on speaking are encouraging me to do more self-ing. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Not that any of my past is a secret, mind you. I’ve just thought of it for a long time as old news, ancient history, been-there-done-that.
And there’s something sort of pitiful, don’t you think, when you hear people yammering about what they used to do? They’re stuck in the past like that guy in Springsteen’s “Glory Days.”
But as I said, smarter speakers than me tell me I’m missing the boat. They insist there’s an audience in and around Chicago for a talk about my glory days … and the lessons worth learning from those experiences.
So, I’m asking for your expert opinion. How interested would you be in a talk that includes stories from the radio years and some suggestions for you too?
Some things we might cover:
- Flexibility—Plan B for a nursing major. Yes, the nursing major was me. So how did I end up in broadcasting, anyway?
- Perseverance in the face of withering criticism. (Rejection letters, hate mail … and now they tweet too!)
- Boldly seizing an opportunity—how I wound up with a gig in Chicago while I was slaving over a hot microphone in Cleveland … waiting to be good enough to get a gig in Chicago.
- Hiding, albeit in plain sight. This is a huge issue for women: ducking opportunities, playing small, passing up a chance to shine. We hold ourselves back in so many ways.
- Playing with a team—how to work well together in ensemble radio or the shipping department.
- When one door closes … reinventing yourself for Career 2.0. (Or 3.0, or 4.0…) This one could almost be another whole talk. I’ve learned a lot about starting over.
If that kind of program does sound like fun to you, I’m asking you help me find the audiences that will share your interest. What groups are they? And how can I make a connection?
And if you’re rolling your eyes, thinking, “Sheesh, that stuff really is old news,” save me from myself and let me know that too. (Trust me, I can take it.)
Share your thoughts in the Comments. I can’t wait …
I believe the “experts” may be right on this one. You do a fantastic job of telling people how to communicate and you will, and should, continue doing that. However, it wouldn’t hurt and could even help for you to share your experiences with others. It is difficult for some of us to speak about ourselves but you have a great story to tell. Just how many little girls grew up in Chicago and wound up being one of the voices of the city? I’ll bet you may be the only one. And that story needs to be told.
Actually, Jack, there are a bunch of those one-time little girls now. One of them told me recently how she listened to me…and even called in to my talk show…when she was a kid. And that fueled her desire to do radio herself. I suppose that supports your theory that there’s a story to tell here, doesn’t it?
Thanks for your encouragement.
Couple of things;
THAT radio station, 40 years later, still interests anyone who ever heard it….that could be coast to coast! ..
And for friends of a certain age, it brings back memories…and thoughts of Chicago….and to know someone who worked there? Oh my
AND as importantly, you were a pioneer for your gender and that is significantly more important today than yesterday.
People find a radio station somewhat exotic…wls the most exotic, and the gender issue important
I wouldn’t make it a major part of your talk….but I know it will be fun to discuss and to hear
My two cents
Your two cents was exactly what I wanted, Marty. And you’re right about the gender thing being part of the mix. I know I made some mistakes early in my career, but I learned how to get along well with a bunch of boys. So much so that in my last gig as a side-chick, one of the guys said to me, “I can’t believe anybody ever thought you were a bitch.” And he meant it!
Thanks for weighing in.
I think hearing about your old radio days and how you navigated would be interesting and fun.
On another note, you certainly helped my husband with your professional counseling sessions. Thank you so much!
Good to hear, Karen! I mean the part about your husband–it’s amazing how much better people can get at presenting themselves with some candid (but not cutting) feedback and specific suggestions for change. I get excited seeing the shifts they make in our work together.
Catherine, a LOT of people are interested in reinventing themselves and changing careers. From nursing to radio and radio to public speaking — and hypnotism was in there somewhere — you have good advice to give.
A lot of women would love advice about how not to hide in plain sight and how to persevere in the face of criticism.
Also, your name is known around Chicago, and people love hearing anecdotes from famous people, so weaving a little of that into your talks might be good.
You could put together one or two new presentations and offer them along with the talks you already do, and see who bites.
The reinvention piece seems especially important, Diane. Because you’re right, a lot of people need to create a second act. They aged out of their first career, or the company relocated, or the whole industry caved in… and here they are, having to start over. Part of my challenge is finding the right audience for that, and by right I mean an audience that yields some business benefit for me. I could do free talks at job clubs every week (and I have) but I can’t build my business on unpaid work.
Thanks for your perspective on this. It’s valuable.
The topics that are most relatable to me (in no order) are: hiding, perseverance, and of course, reinvention (pretty impactful, relevant and meaningful I think).
Thank you for asking, your direct style (truly appreciated), and being the superstar you are–keep shining bright!
Warm wishes for a bright holiday season,
And thank you for sharing your perspective, Marla. That hiding thing is a huge issue for women. I had a good career in radio, lasted a lot longer than many others. And yet I look back and think, “What could I have done if I’d really been willing to put myself out there?” I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in seeing opportunities in the rear view mirror that I ignored at the time.
I think these experts are giving you really good advice…as long as you consider your audience. Baby Boomers and Gen X (me) will love hearing stories from your radio days. We can relate to them. However, a millennial audience (and soon, Gen Z!) may not appreciate, or be wow’ed by those stories. No, I’m not at all bashing the up-and-comers. The reality is that not many of them were brought up listening to the radio – talk radio at that – like we were. It’s possible a younger audience wouldn’t understand why these stories are special and significant. So then the challenge becomes making these stories resonate with a younger audience. You’ll want them to see the impact of what you created, and how your radio show elevated you professionally and personally. What works in your favor is that storytelling is a huge trend that’s probably going to stick around for a while. Educate and inform through your stories, and include little gems and tips that will appeal to each generation.
Lauren makes good points. I’d love it! But then I’m not there & not working so not your target audience. I met you near the end of your radio days and have watched with amazement as your journey has taken you in many directions. I think many professionals would be interested in all of that but you’ll get feedback from others who can better answer your question. Must tell you what a FABULOUS photo that is … such a hottie! ????
You raise an interesting question, Linda, about being “not here and not working.” I actually thought one audience for me would be people at or near retirement. Talk about a transition! And a lot of people navigate it badly. I wonder if there might be a way to take my stories about starting over and make them relevant to launching a new post-paid-work life. Because there are a bunch of Baby Boomers doing that. And, of course, they’re old enough to remember me.
The picture. It was taken when WLS was still a music station and the news director was still dubious about whether anchors should even have publicity photos. Renee Tondelli shot it. She was a station engineer with a hobby in photography. And she was brilliant. As for reinvention — Renee headed off for Hollywood. I see her name in film credits frequently: sound engineer or sound designer. And her IMBD profile points out that she’s an Academy Award winner.
The radio stories definitely have more impact for people who remember the era, Lauren…and that leaves out the millennials. Although the notion of seizing (or hiding from) an opportunity might work for them. My illustrations have to do with radio because that’s the industry I was in, but the main point isn’t about broadcasting at all. It’s about being present enough in the moment to recognize something that could change your career (or your life) and being gutsy enough to do something about it. That kind of thing should work even for people who listen to their music on Spotify.
You mean you haven’t done this yet? I’m thinking TED talk! Seriously. Get it just right for our 50 year GBS reunion.
I enjoy hearing about people’s first
jobs, so put in a nod to Indak and Flower City and that nursing home called ….?
You know, Ellen, there probably is a newsletter article at the very least in “What I learned on the factory floor.” And I have Indak pictures to go with it! I’m going to start working on that.
I think telling your story is very valuable, interesting and helpful. When I listen to a speaker, their story about how they got where they are today, provides great validity, expertise and authenticity to whether I will find the rest of the speaker’s information valuable and truthful. Share away!
Sounds like your story would benefit any group of entrepeneurs, business owners, students of any age.
Denise, you raise a good point about the stories giving people a sense about the value they’re going to get from the information we’re about to share. Funny, I don’t think of students as being a natural audience for me. Maybe I should broaden my horizons … I am doing a return engagement with some Girl Scouts in a couple of months.
Great Topics but I think there may be different questions you could Ask that could trigger great topic choices for talks that may or may not relate to your broadcasting history
What is Your Business Objective?
What topics do Your Target Audience find Valuable?
(I.E. what problems do You Solve for or with your clients?)
What is Your upsell objective?
Are you staying in your lane or doing the “Spray and Pray”?
How do you want to be known?
Are you rebranding?
For example – let’s say you are targeting lawyers who are solo practitioners because your research has revealed that Lawyers need help with their impact when speaking to groups. Their market has changed because there are so many Lawyers..So you decide to speak at bar associations and law related groups etc., where you will find lawyers”( your target audience )
Your upsell plan could be to offer an upsell package for lawyers live or as an info product
Your title of your talk could be
Power Presentation Skills for Lawyers – knocking knees to knocking it out of the park “with your next presentation”
Ideas linked to a strategy with smart goals helps you to build a brand and have impact, while staying in your lane and that can be transformational!!!for your audience and your business growth!
So in summary I am asking you to consider the questions I asked instead of your question : what topics do you like?
I hope this was helpful
Yes it is helpful, Donna. I’m not sure I want an up-sell plan, though I know I probably should have one. My dream is to show up, talk to people, listen to people and call it a day. Wish me luck!
YES! You are able to take those stories and translate them to the message of your audience – whoever that may be and whatever their needs. You are gifted beyond words and can take all your expertise and package it up. Hell yes! DO IT!
BUT can I write a book about it, Kelly? Yes, to translating stories into a message that can benefit a particular audience. I think I’m decent at that, and probably there are ways to get better, or more refined, maybe. As always, I’m grateful for your encouragement.
Everyone loves to hear stories and I am no different. I think you should follow their advice and use your life’s work in radio and your transition from it to your benefit.
As long as I can use it for an audience’s benefit too, Bill, that works. And I guess that’s what made me pose the question…wondering whether there’s enough about them in stories about me. I’m encouraged by the feedback here about putting together a talk. Still not completely sure whether anyone will pay for it.
As you know, it depends a lot on your audience. But every audience benefits from a sprinkling of your background and the challenges you encountered and overcame in your own way. Those stories are all translate-able and do add to your credibility. Your role, in your current position, has changed–to mentor, to guide, to inspirational speaker, and your audience is smart enough to get that. They, especially the younger ones, need to know that your path has a history that they can understand (even if they can’t “relate” to radio, etc. Using your photos of earlier years can be impactful because, yup, you were really hot, real, relevant, to the time, and it illustrates your history visually for those who take in info that way. “Sprinkling” is the important word. Your talks are not about you, they are about each and every member of your audience, but, wow, do your stories have punch that matter. I remember listening to an inspirational speaker who wasn’t getting through to me at all because I could not relate to her “I’ve got everything” story…until she told of her quite difficult past, then suddenly, for me, everything she said was now relevant and somehow “truer” because she was “real”. I guess it’s all about making a connection with your audience, and not everyone connects to the same thing. One sprinkle, then another, and another, and pretty soon you’ve covered everyone.
“Sprinkling” is a good way to think about it, Stephanie. Thank you for that!
I think Stephanie hits it spot-on. Sprinkling in stories of personal experiences that are relevant to the topic that drew them in is an effective way to connect with people.
Yes, Mark, I like the notion of sprinkling in stories. I’ve done a lot of that, of course — my intention now is to put more of a spotlight on those stories. Because they seem to be what distinguishes me from any number of other excellent speakers who focus on business communication. The radio thing is my “differentiator,” right?
You-You-You? Yes-Yes-Yes – especially because you have the gift of sharing a story and making it a powerful lesson. Oh – and with LOL humor, too! Linda and Lauren both make good points, and knowing your creativity and your natural inclination to be inclusive, you will find ways to incorporate all the audiences. Keep it as clear, concise, creative and direct as possible – so people young and mature – like that? – can quickly scan it and get the lesson. Oooooo. I can’t wait!
Yes, Cindy, I like “people young and mature.” Reminds me of my friend who says, “You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”
And yes to “clear, concise, creative and direct.” That’s a place where a lot of speakers miss the mark; they say too much about not enough. Good things for me to keep in mind, along with being inclusive.
The story of the “glory days” are interesting and need to be heard/told. You bridge it well to what you learned and why it might matter to us (audience). Go for it! You’ve got a lot to tell. Let it flow and trust yourself not to over do the “me,me,me—and the good ole days.
Your blog is a bright spot. Shine on, Catherine!
Ah, the “bridge” is really the key, isn’t it, Tom? And I do think I’m pretty good at finding it. I just wrote a piece about what I learned in orthopedic rehab that you can use in your business, for cryin’ out loud. Now that took some bridging! Thanks for your encouragement, my friend.
Well done, Catherine, and bold move asking for feedback in this important subject!
I love your current message of helping clients to “Show Up and Shine,” since it really is about presence. Furthermore, I believe that your personal testimony of overcoming is a huge opportunity to ADD to your message. Your radio days are currently hidden in your profile, and that’s probably why folks keep asking more about your story. Any examples of how posture, better word choice, and assertive communication while serving as radio host could further enhance your program.
I personally feel your stage presence speaks for itself, regardless of the message you bring. Yes, there are different generations to reach, yet I feel your experiences on radio can be related to modern blogs, vlogs, and news stories. Just find a creative way to craft it to your own “Purple Cow.” Ha, even taking your own advice!
Thanks for being an authentic voice, sharing your REAL self with those around you. Your authenticity truly does set you apart.
Oh, I don’t expect I’ll ever stop speaking about how to show up and shine, Dan. It’s what I’m known for, and what I’m good at. And yet, I can see by my calendar that it’s not enough. This more personal or autobiographical piece might be a way to add to my repertoire and create new opportunities. I appreciate your encouragement. And…when are we going to get that March date firmed up?
I normally don’t chime in but this is directly in my wheel house. I agree, that you need to talk about your story and how it has shaped and informed you and what you have learned and now want to share with others to help them on heir journey. The goal in my opinion is not what parts you share or even just about your radio days but the whole epic adventure with all the highs and lows that is your life. You are the protagonist with gifts, wisdom and insight that you and only you can bring this world. And finally, since I know you’re an 8 on the enneagram, it must be done with vulnerability- it’s your superpower! 🙂 best of luck.
Ah yes, vulnerability. It’s a missing piece in a lot of essays or speeches that derive from personal experience. Thanks for your insight, Laurie. I can’t say I’d thought of myself as having a “epic adventure”–I like that perspective.
As you know, the issue with me-me-me is when it is promoting how great I am and how everyone else should know how great I am. What I think your experts are telling you to do is to “learn from me-me-me.” They want you to be more vulnerable in your stories. Not just the how-to but the how did I. We relate to other’s stories and often learn more from parables than from being told what to do. It is not focusing on you as an end-game, but sharing your experiences so we can all learn as you have learned. Make sense?
It totally makes sense, Melissa. I’m pretty comfortable being vulnerable in front of an audience,in fact I think that’s one of my better things. But this would be a shift in subjects for me. More about mindset and feelings, less about skills. And more detail, I guess, about my own experiences. It seems there’s an interest…whether there’s enough interest for someone to hire me as a speaker, that’s the question.
Well said Melissa. I personally am drawn to story telling. The more personal the better as I listen and relate to the ups and downs of life. Keep it real CJ.
It’s been really clear to me from my newsletter this year, Paige, that a lot of people share your view: the more personal, the better. I get some good feedback on how-to articles…but what people really react to is the more personal pieces. It’s been a bit of a stretch, and I’m glad to have had a chance to practice in these weekly emails.
I always enjoy your posts – especially the stories. And since you’re such a good storyteller, I welcome more from “the vault.” It’s important history that contains very timely wisdom and advice.
Thanks, Fred! It kind of cracks me up to think of myself imparting “wisdom.” But at this age, maybe I do have some to share!
Hi Catherine, I think it’s a great idea to weave your personal stories into your presentations. I think your message of flexibility, resilience, hiding and overcoming all the obstacles in your career are pertinent to most professionals today.
I’ll keep my eyes open for speaking gigs for you.
Thanks, Claudia – for the encouragement and for the open eyes! I do tell stories when I speak, but they’re usually about practical skills as opposed to the sort of mindset stuff like resilience and playing full-out. That would be a shift for me–it’s exciting to think about.
There is always something relevant from your experiences at WLS that can be applied today. Anyone who grew up in Chicago during those glory days of AM radio remember you and will enjoy hearing some of the back stories of your work with the DJ’s who became legends. The strategies you employed to become successful in what was a male dominated medium at that time still provide valuable insights today. It’s not “about me” when the focus of your storytelling is to help others. I have heard you speak and can endorse your efforts wholeheartedly.
That’s well-put, Tom — “It’s not ‘about me’ when the focus of your storytelling is to help others.” It’s actually useful to hear someone’s first-hand experience when I’m trying on a new way of thinking or learning a new skill. So it follows that my own first-hand experience might be useful to someone in the audience. Now, to find the right audience …
I absolutely agree that you should share your experience in the radio industry. Taking that experience and using it to focus on best practices for today is a winning concept! I think Chambers of Commerce would be groups who would like to hear your message – especially the women’s networking events.
Gale, you know I love Chambers (I’m speaking in Skokie and Park Ridge in January!). And, I’ve done a lot of that over the years. I need to find groups that HIRE speakers and intrigue them enough that they will hire me.
Catherine, I think they are telling you to talk about what you know, which you do, but with MORE. Tie your experiences to the aspirations of your audience. From the way you describe your past, we all know there is some nitty gritty there that we are all curious about. Like people who go thru magazines and use the fragrence samples, we want to experience your triumphs and lessons as part of our own lives. It sounds stalkerish as I write, but I think you understand what I’m saying. You offer a piece of yourself every time you speak, now let us take a tiny piece home with us. 🙂
It doesn’t sound stalkerish, Kristina – and I think I do understand what you’re saying. It’s about the MORE. Not necessarily more stories, but stories told with more background, more emotion, more of me. Thanks for your perspective on this. It helps.
Weaving your personal story and experiences into presentions and your written pieces have huge value for me. Especially when you share the things that did not turn out as expected. The things that provided lessons. You came from a tough industry and have stories that are helpful to each of us. Stories that things learned that are instructive and will help me to be a better communicator individually and in large groups. I look forward to seeing them.
I’ve been doing more and more of that personal-story weaving, Bob, and I do think it pays off. Just for openers, this article has generated way more response than most. I’ve always used stories and examples in my speaking, but they’re more teaching-tools than personal revelation. I think I’m adding a different dimension. And I appreciate your support for that.
Catherine, I would enjoy hearing more about your Radio Days in Chicago, since since I was introduced to you in the mid-to-late 1970s by a mutual friend at a radio station where you both worked. I would love to hear the stories behind the wonderful voice I heard on the radio during the time when listening to pop music on transistor AM radio shows was a constant in my life. Unfortunately I no longer live in Chicago, so I would not be able to come to one of your life talks to enjoy this, but if you published a memoir in print or audiobook for read by the author, of course!) that would be wonderful. Thank you for soliciting our opinions on this matter.
It’s good to know you’d have an interest, Stephen, and I love the image of you with your transistor radio. And who knows? Maybe I could turn this into my second book. I did an audio version of the first one, and I’d likely do it again. Thanks!
Catherine, you should absolutely write a book. Clark Weber published a book on radio’s “Fun Years”… Art Hellyer published his memoirs “The Hellyer Say”… Corey Dietz published a book on his experiences in radio “The Ca$h Cage”, and of course, there is the legendary “Superjock”.
And Turi Ryder has a book coming out in the spring, Patrick. I’m looking forward to reading her stories, and we’re working on a promotional event for the book.
I am looking forward to Turi’s book! And hopefully to yours as well.
I would enjoy hearing your stories because, in some ways, they are my stories. I listened to hear you on WLS more than the DJs you were working with. I was just entering the work force in my first few jobs in Chicago and the Chicagoland area. It was encouraging to me to hear you on the radio even though I was in a totally different career line (IT). I don’t remember everything .. and .. since we have now met in person, you know that I am a fan!
I think there are tons of things to share .. and .. could be ways to engage and teach audiences at multiple different levels.
Many women today have no idea what it is like to be the only woman in a room of men. Where the men chat along and interrupt you when you try to speak. There were so many barriers that were overcome.
Oh, I don’t know anything about men chatting along and interrupting you when you try to speak, Janice. (KIDDING) Yes, there are stories connected to being in a distinct minority, and they should be relevant to women in other industries too. IT is surely one–you also chose a field where men predominate.
I think that notion that my stories are, in some ways, your stories is helpful. There are a lot of those universal-or-nearly-so experiences–the details might differ but the impact is the same.
Catherine, I’ve had the joy of hearing you speak several times now and I’ve been completely energized and blown away by your presence, friendly compassion and most of all your brilliant insight. I would come to hear you speak on any item YOU found engaging because I trust that your litmus test for “engaging” is pretty darned great. That said: “Hiding, albeit in plain sight. This is a huge issue for women: ducking opportunities, playing small, passing up a chance to shine. We hold ourselves back in so many ways… “ would be a great topic!
Thank you, Love Ann. I think you’re right about hiding. I mentioned it to a group of women this morning and every one of them had that look as if they were thinking, “I know exactly what she’s talking about. Like that time I…”
We wait and work for opportunities, and then sometimes when they arrive, we just let them slip through our fingers. Or we actively push them away. I’m still not sure how to market that talk, but I do think it could be a good one. And, if I can create the right atmosphere, it could generate some fabulous audience participation.
Well, you and I met because you were a radio celebrity and I was writing a column in which I interviewed radio celebrities. I approached on-air personalities who I thought were of note… individuals who had something interesting to say. Of course, I listened to you deliver the news on WLS and WJMK, and also to your work as a talk show host on WLS. I appreciated your integrity, as you respected the intelligence of your audience didn’t manufacture controversy. My interest in the radio industry has waned over the years, largely as a result of all the changes brought about by media consolidation, but my interest in what people like you have to say has not decreased. I think your target audience would be Chicagoans of a certain age, but there are a lot of us. Your own stories would be interesting to women who probably have similar experiences regardless of which industry they are in. And the caché of a Larry Lujack story cannot be overstated.
Part of my question is where to find these Chicagoans of a certain age, and then how to inspire them to hire me as a speaker. And I think you’re right, Patrick, that women’s groups are a natural audience for a talk focused on barrier-breaking and all that. Here’s a story. When I went to register for classes as a Communication Arts and Sciences major, the head of my division told me to my face, “I don’t believe there’s a place for women in broadcasting.” I guess you could say I persisted.
Well well you sure found a way to get everyone involved 😀
You know I look forward to your weekly info and I was kind of taken aback by (experts) telling you anything, to me you are THE expert.
Due to your writing which I do talk about you to many other (at home you are known as my celebrity friend)
This got me to thinking your other stories will aid in the training (building a foundation)
My only advise is to start small and ease your way into the bigger, longer, more past than training stories.
I certainly did find a way to get people involved, Jacques, and don’t think for a minute that I haven’t noticed that. I’m already thinking about how to weave this lesson into my coaching and speaking.
Thanks for your suggestion. I think I may show up in Grand Rapids this year with a name tag that says “Jacques DeMolen’s Celebrity Friend.”
Thank you for asking our opinions. I think you have several talks in your list. The one emphasizing the radio days, Lujack stories etc. has a specific audience that has a strong appeal. I would think it would be lunch speaker at social groups. Your audience is late career/early retirement (my guess).
The talk on being flexible and pivoting is subject that early to mid-career. They don’t have the same connection to your radio career itself but would relate to the content. The importance of pivoting through building on your strengths, etc. would speak to them. Your stories weaves into that would be powerful.
I think you’re right about the “pivot” talk, Diana. My specific shift from radio side-chick to communication skills trainer gives me a way to illustrate the steps a person can take to leave one career behind and start another one. But the relevance isn’t radio, it’s transition. My big question is who would hire a speaker to talk about getting to Plan B? That’s something I still have to sort out.
I would survey your prior gigs to see if they are interested. I know PMI where I heard you speak would find that to be a very relevant topic. In their case, it might be pivot from IT project management to business project management. The issues with how to have authority in a new field comes to mind.
But your existing client base will likely have interest in this and you have been a hit with them so it should be an easy sell. Make any sense?
Diana, you are a genius. I don’t do nearly enough of that going back to people who’ve heard me speak before. And I should.
Catherine your story is filled with transitions and I think in every group you speak with there are people thinking about making some type of change. The Boomer retirees definitely would enjoy your radio stories bringing back memories. Younger attendees listen to podcasts and other media and may even dream of starting their own. Your experiences, especially presented with your humorous anecdotes will work with any audience. Your lifetime of a wide variety of experiences shared in your presentations will benefits your audiences.
Oh yes, I’ve made some serious transitions, Kathy. And I do think there’s a set of skills, or maybe attitudes, that pave the way for those transitions. Some people close out a career and can’t find the path to a new one. Or maybe they’re just not willing to take that path. The trick will be to turn that kind of talk into something that a group will pay for. My experience has been that the demand comes mainly from job clubs who want their members to find paying work, but their speakers to work for free.
I agree as long the talk isn’t all about “me”. It needs to be a story, or two, or three, that teach – something you learned from it that the audience can translate into their life, and hopefully remember in the future. I really liked your recent Larry Lujack story. I learned things I didn’t know about what a professional he was, that you learned from him, and it was inspiring to me. This year I had the pleasure of attending a GOA luncheon and hearing Dan Hampton speak. Does anyone not like the ’85 Bears around here?! He told several interesting stories. The one I remember most was a locker room story of the year his college team won the National Championship. The details are already fading, but my imagination’s images are still strong of being able to imagine the moment. He was able to tie the point in throughout the rest of his talk. The fact that you like to focus on your audience could take some story telling to a high level. Having several stories ready to go to help a member of the audience could be valuable thing – if it doesn’t seem to canned.
Ack! I hope I never seem “canned.” Barb. Although there certainly are stories I tell often, being in the moment with this audience in this room should head off that sense that a program is canned. I’m so glad you dug the article about Larry. I really did learn things from him that were valuable to me in my radio career, but way beyond that too. And I like to think my clients benefit from that learning now.
Hiding, albeit in plain sight. This is a huge issue for women: ducking opportunities, playing small, passing up a chance to shine. We hold ourselves back in so many ways.
It seems like especially good woman are the ones held back. Often times by loud woman or woman who have wealthy husbands or families. Women need to address what is meant by the Divine Feminine on both the individual and communal level. Worship in the Divine Feminine isn’t witchcraft, feminism or pulling down statues in the man’s world. It’s- you tell me.
Interesting, John. I’ll take a stab at it and say the Divine Feminine means stepping into our gifts, even celebrating them. And using them fully in service of ourselves and others. It’s not language I typically use, but I might need to explore it further. Thanks for raising the question.
I use a lot of stories about my earlier work in my training sessions, and get a fair number of compliments about it, so it seems to work. For me, the key is that the stories illustrate a point I am trying to make. When I tell people to check out the location before they carry out a protest, I illustrate with a story of a time I failed to do so – and it turned out the Cook County Democratic Party had moved out of the Bismarck Hotel – and three television cameras watched us go to an empty office. That’s memorable, and in a way that really isn’t so much about me as it is about the point I am making. Though I talk about the humiliation and get them all laughing – so it’s also tagging the emotion to the error, and hopefully they will remember and not make my mistakes. So I think personal stories are essential, it’s a question of which ones you choose and why and how you use them. (We got lucky, and at least one of the TV stations implied that Eddy Vrydolyak had moved to avoid us – haha, as if.)
Telling stories about your earlier exploits also builds your credibility, I think – though maybe you don’t need to mention what year it was or say wow, that was a long time ago.
And yes, I’d love to hear your stories. I’m old enough, but I wasn’t listening when you were on the radio – I just like people’s stories- it’s what makes you the unique and interesting person that you are.
LOVE the Bismarck Hotel story, Judy. And yes, a great way for people to learn is to hear about how I goofed something up. As you might guess, I have a few of those stories about goofing something up. 😉
The notion that our stories make us unique is important, I think. Let’s face it, thousands of people speak about communication skills…the thing that makes me different from the rest of them is my radio background. Tapping into my history of being heard but not seen, one of the programs I offer is Speaking with Authority: Make the Conversation Count for people who do much of their work on the phone and web-based platforms. It was surprising to me how awkward many people feel when they’re talking to unseen others. So I cover some specific things they can do to make those conversations more comfortable and more productive.
Having done the career 2.0 thing myself after 25 years in broadcasting, I know exactly how you feel. Of course, Catherine, I’m pretty biased. I could listen to you talk about your radio career for hours. Maybe days! But I face the same dilemma. I often joke that “I used to be famous.” (Certainly not the national name recognition that you enjoyed!) But, even after 21 years, it’s been hard to self identify as someone other than “Joe the radio guy.” I just can’t pretend that a profession that consumed a third of my life isn’t important any more. However, in my personal experience, it seems most people I meet couldn’t care less. I’m part of a networking group called BNI. Most of the people in my group are in their 30s and 40s. They either weren’t born yet, or they were too young to remember a time when I was “that radio guy.” Combine that with the fact radio broadcasting has pretty much lost the cachet it had when we were growing up, any mention of my former profession results in glazed stares. That hasn’t stopped me from bringing it up, mainly because I can’t help myself. But those blank stares are kind of depressing. Being Joe the computer guy just isn’t as much fun. Having said all this, I think your situation is different in ways that others here have pointed out. You were a broadcasting pioneer and role model. I think there’s a lot your “new” audiences could learn from that.
Oh, Joe, you touch on something that haunts me when I think about incorporating radio stories in my work — the fear of those glazed stares! I’ve been encouraged by the responses here though. I think I do need to elaborate more, when I touch on something I learned from my broadcasting career. And, it’s really important to connect every story to a meaningful bit of information or an action step — something the audience in front of me right now can do with it.
Your experience is not “old news”, Catherine. It’s in your experiences and stories that the wisdom you offer resides. It is what brings what you are teaching to life. They are always there, even if you have pushed them behind your messages today. Yes, bring them forward. What a fascinating career in radio you had.
That’s encouraging, Bonita. Thanks. The stories bring the teaching to life – that’s a good way to look at it.
I think the Millennials will relate to and value the reinvention story. Some of them are getting to the age when the career they wanted is not manifesting itself, and they have to learn how to pivot and not beat themselves up for not achieving their original goals. Also, some may be in jobs they hate and need to find their plan b.
I bet you’re right, Kelly, about making the pivot — stories about that can resonate with people even if the particulars are very different.