No matter who you are or how much time you’ve spent in the field, you have unique experiences that have shaped you and helped you to grow. And you may not realize it yet, but you can have a tremendous impact upon others just by sharing your expertise. Its time for you (yes, you) to enter the realm of public speaking. If you can find the right audience, they will eagerly listen and learn.
Like many of you, I’m a busy person, yet it’s important that I find time for the occasional phone call to Mom and Dad. A typical phone conversation with my Mom starts like this:
Me: “Hi Mom, it’s me. How are you doing?”
Last year, I set up a modest but awesome home theater system with the help of my boyfriend Matt. I was thrilled because I could finally experience my music collection from my living room and kitchenette. I could use a remote to browse by artist or genre via my TV screen. What music nerd wouldn’t want that? However, my excitement gradually waned as I realized just how disorganized my 23,000 song music collection was. Browsing for music was a nightmare. Scrolling through long lists of misspelled, mislabeled, and duplicated artists, albums, and genres was enough to drive one berserk. Ironically, I was beginning to feel like a frustrated user.
Prior to my days at Happy Cog, I worked on a team tasked with creating an online promotion for our client’s new high-end candy. The candy was delicious, but each small box sold for approximately $4, so conveying its quality was important. The product’s target market was women in their 20’s and 30’s, so my team decided to take the high-maintenance diva approach to the design. When all was said and done, we launched a microsite full of glamour and glitz, sparkles, stilettos, and lipstick tips. Users could take a quiz to determine just how “fabulous” they were. At the time, I was in my twenties, and I’ve always liked candy, so I considered myself a member of the target audience. But there was a problem: I couldn’t relate to this content at all. I liked to be girly from time to time, but sparkles and stilettos were not my thing and they never will be. I also couldn’t see any of my female friends connecting with this. To be fair, the tone of the site was tongue-in-cheek and it wasn’t taking itself too seriously, but I just didn’t feel right about it. It didn’t feel right to reduce our target audience to stereotypes. Had I known then what I know now, I probably would have spoken up and advocated for a better understanding of our audience. Were these women really into makeup and expensive clothes and nights out in Manhattan? Or were we completely off the mark?