I love sharing what I learn. It blesses me and it blesses you. How? Read and
Lesson No. 1: Every time you give a presentation, you impart,
deliver or discover knowledge.
Even if you don’t think what you’re
talking about is earth-shattering, in almost every audience you talk to, what you
are saying is news to someone.
Lesson No. 2: Never assume it’s your
audience who learns the most from your talk.
It’s not just the audience
who benefits from a talk. The speaker gains enormous insights from the
experience of speaking.
When I spoke at Google, I was terrified. Although
I’d spoken at many places before, this was Google! When I was told that a second
location was going to be attending via satellite, I started off the presentation
rattled and a bit flustered.
I stayed flustered until the first question
from an attendee.
Then everything changed. I learned this first lesson
that Google was just a company where other people worked, people I could share
my knowledge with. They weren’t there to judge me, but to learn from
This was no longer about me “speaking for Google.” I was now speaking
for smart, savvy computer wizards who were finding value in what I was saying. I
was a human being interacting with human beings. From then on I relaxed and
delivered a fantastic presentation to resounding applause. I think I learned
more that day than they did! Which leads me to my next lesson: How did I get to
Lesson No. 3: You never know what experiences you have will lead to, or
who knows who.
I spoke in the past for the the Israeli Translation
Association (ITA), the professional body for translation. Someone who heard me
there told someone in Google about me, and several months later I received a
speaking invitation from Google. It had never occurred to me that speaking for a
specific industry, without further networking, could still lead to media
mentions and articles. (Lots of translators also write for different
publications!) Aaah – but how did I get to the ITA?
Lesson No. 4: It’s a small
I got to ITA through HARO (short for
HelpAReporter.com is a website founded a few years
ago by my friend Peter Shankman.
Every day HARO sends out three emails
with requests from dozens of different reporters looking for story sources. For
example, a travel reporter might request, “Looking for doctors that work/live on
cruise ships in the horn of Africa.” If you were qualified to respond to that
query, or knew someone who did, you could respond and, if there is a match,
might be interviewed for their story. I’ve successfully gotten more than 100
placements via HARO in places like The Wall Street Journal, CBS, Fox and many
Lesson No. 5: Be grateful in all things. What seems to be a bad
turn is often a bigger and better blessing in disguise!
One morning I saw a HARO
request for speakers at an event in Israel! I realized that I knew the poster
personally. So I emailed her. I did NOT get the gig because by the time we spoke
the speaker roster was full. But it DID lead to a speaking engagement at a
different event for the organization – where the Google contact heard me. You
know how that story turned out! Just last week I spoke for an audience of
several hundred people at the Revenue Seminar in Tel Aviv. The invitation to
speak there came via someone I met three years ago via a nowdefunct industry
Lesson No 6: Use every opportunity to discover other
Don’t be satisfied just to speak. Use your talks to reach
out to your audience to create new opportunities. Speaking last Thursday at
Nefesh B’Nefesh has already led to new business, both lecturing at other
nonprofits and doing consulting with a honcho at Oracle Corporation who was also
His testimonial alone will be a tremendous addition to my
testimonial page, which made the whole speech worthwhile!
Finally: Lesson No. 7:
Develop relationships with other speakers.
When speaking at events with
other speakers, make sure to connect with them as well as the audience. At last
year’s event I met with Google AdWords master Perry Marshall and spent a few
hours with him. To my delight and surprise, his next private-client newsletter
had several pages about me, and he’s since become a good
Receiving an enthusiastic response from an audience is
Spending time personally with world famous personalities in
Internet marketing – such as Armand Morin, Harlan Kilstein and Adam Hall, who
came to Israel for an event I spoke at last week – was valuable in its own
right. But the fact that I have a new notch in my belt and have climbed a new
Get out there. You can do it, too!
Issamar Ginzberg is a business adviser, marketer,
professional speaker and rabbi who has been published in more than 50 business