Overcoming the roadblock of ‘putting yourself out there’ in the public arena

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To become an effective and visible thought leader, you must put yourself and your thoughts and ideas out into the public arena.

This may be via a combination of forums, including public speaking, blogging or podcasting, writing articles for the media or being interviewed by bloggers, podcasters or journalists, as well as having an active personal (but professional) presence on social networks such as Twitter.

But any (or all) of these public-facing activities can also be a huge challenge or roadblock for many people; the knock-on effect of this, of course, is we don’t reach our full potential because we’re holding ourselves back.

So how best can we deal with putting ourselves in the glare of the public spotlight? In this episode of REPUTATION REVOLUTION I riff on this very topic.

Public speaking

For public speaking, preparation is critical as it builds confidence; engaging a speaking coach is also a wise idea as they will help prepare you for your moment in the spotlight.

In my case, I started on panels and worked up from there. I used to seriously dislike public speaking, but not any more – I love it, and now I deliver keynote addresses to audiences numbering in their hundreds at major industry conferences. I found that accepting (and then tackling head-on) every public speaking opportunity that came my way helped me overcome my reticence in taking to the stage.

Say “yes”, and just get up and speak. It does get easier over time 🙂

Creating content

For some people, creating content and publishing via a blog or podcast or YouTube can be very daunting.

Not so much the process per se but because you’re putting your thoughts, ideas and opinions out in a very public arena where people can hold you up to scrutiny. I often say there’s nothing more sobering than hitting the ‘publish’ button on a blog post; it forces you to think clearly and objectively about your ideas and the train of thought you have got going in that head of yours!

My advice is to write a series of articles directly into your content management system (blog) and then check them out in ‘preview’ mode – this will give you a feel for what your articles will look like once they’re published. Once you’re comfortable, hit the publish button!

If you’re producing ‘to-camera’ videos, you can upload and publish them to YouTube; just make sure they’re published to ‘private’ – this way you can look over the ‘finished product’ and get comfortable with seeing how you come across on YouTube. Again, when you’re ready, make the videos public!

Social networking

Some business types can’t get their heads around the whole notion of networking publicly on social channels, on Twitter in particular. The thought of conversing with people and sharing information feels weird to them, so they simply don’t do it.

If this is you (and you’re keen to become a thought leader in your space), then you’re going to have to overcome this particular attitude, and the best way to do that is (a) sign up to the platform, lurk, listen and try and get a feel for the particular nuances of the site, and (b) get in there and focus on adding value to the online community. Giving, giving, giving (sharing information, links, ideas and generally helping people who are asking questions) is the best way to become part of the fabric of the particular platform you’re on.

Yes, it feels a little weird at time to be having ‘public’ conversations with people but like most of what we talk about on this podcast episode, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Editorial exposure and media interviews

Photojournalist verticalAnd finally we have the stumbling block that is the media, or for the purposes of this post, let’s include bloggers, podcasters and vodcasters (video) along with journalists, producers and on-air presenters.

The bottom line is, if members of the media start calling, you’re obviously doing something right in terms of your online content, your social media participation and potentially your public speaking.

Journalists only want to speak with experts. To find those experts, they will ask around, or maybe find you via search engines (or you may already be on their radar if you’re known around the ‘beat’ they follow). Thus, in all probability, you’re already making a name for yourself, in other words, you’re already ‘out there’.

As with all aspects of these potential ‘roadblocks’, being prepared is half the battle. You know your stuff, now the time time has come to answer a journalist or blogger’s questions with as much purpose, passion and clarity as you can!

What are your thoughts on the aforementioned roadblocks? Are they roadblocks for you, or were they and how did you overcome them?

Remember to subscribe to REPUTATION REVOLUTION on iTunes and not miss an episode! And if you enjoy what you hear, I’d really love it if you could leave a review on iTunes. Thanking you! 

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