Last night I was in my element. Two words: Networking and speaking. There’s nothing I love more than to be in a room full of people I don’t know, working it, chatting, engaging with people, listening to their stories, having a laugh. It’s fun.
Through a change in events I had been asked to speak at a Kaplan Business School networking event.
Yes, I was excited. But…
I felt sick. I was nervous – very nervous, I’m not sure why. I don’t normally get so nervous. I had been nervous/sick/anxious all day. OK, OK, I was actually freaking right out.
Doubt started to creep in – who am I to talk to these people about networking at a networking event? They are at a networking event, of course they know how to network. My material is too basic. God, they are going to think I’m a weirdo. I felt like cancelling.
I didn’t. I couldn’t. That would have been way worse. Shameful, even.
So I sucked it up and walked into that place like I owned it, confidently and with a big happy smile on my face.
Meanwhile, my stomach was still doing back flips.
But then something crazy happened…I took my own advice when networking. I said hello to someone I didn’t know, found something in common with them and started working the room. I love networking for this reason and feel very much at home within a group of people I’ve never met before.
I was delighted when the host introduced me and had taken the time to jump on to my website. He was impressed with the site and especially my About Us page – which has my backstory; why I am the way I am.
He paid particular attention to the way I’d written it and how different it was and also pulled out my two biggest writing achievements…penning a book at age 4 (that Mum threw out, thanks Mum!) and becoming a published journalist at 14. He even announced me as a “word stylist” – the phrase I’ve coined to stand out instead of being called a website copywriter or an online content writer or, heaven forbid, an SEO copywriter.
The crowd clapped me in, I thanked them and gave my short pitch:
“Hi I’m Liz and I’m The Word Stylist. I’m also the owner of EC Writing Services and the author of the new book WOW Words on the Web. I work with established small businesses – predominantly in the fashion and beauty world – who want to look good online through words.”
And then launched straight into the presentation on how to network effectively and building relationships.
Then something incredible happened.
They loved it. I got great feedback. I asked people about the content and they agreed it was helpful and useful, and they would go away and start putting things into practice.
And then something even more incredible happened.
I was offered, not one but two speaking gigs off that back of that presentation. One with an actual networking group (glad I knew what I was talking about having a professional networker in the room) and the other from a massive business organisation.
I also chatted with two people about partnerships and have lined up some writing work in the future.
Kaplan is going to send a link to my book out their database. Who knows what opportunities that will bring.
WOW! I was so humbled. And all from one little networking event and presentation on a quiet Thursday night at a golf course overlooking Brisbane City that I was freaking out about.
The moral of this story is: Face your fears. Overcome your nerves. Just do it.
You never know what opportunities are waiting out there for you and what one presentation may turn into.
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