Yesterday after enjoying a mild state of euphoria after hosting the first of my face to face group workshops on social media, I paused for a bit to reflect on poignant moments and milestones that helped shape where I am today.
I am passionate about social media, I can talk about it for England... and France and never tire of the topic. I love talking and communicating and being creative, useful accoutrements to a life in social media. While I enjoy having online conversations with a myriad of people on a daily basis, nothing can beat having real conversations with real people! I love imparting knowledge and information that helps fellow business owners.
So here are my poignant moments and milestones:
- At school my reports were OK. Nothing untoward – bright, likes learning, could do with talking a bit less.
- At senior school I remember being caught in the act of 'talking' and defending my stance that my future job will require me to talk!
- At 17 I was invited to share a short talk about my experience at the local college of higher and further education and where the qualifications had led me, to the next intake of students. I was working as a junior secretary at a local estate agent at the time. Imagine my nerves when standing next door to the Senior PA of the then UK Prime Minister.
- In the early 90s I worked for a building society and when Bill Gates introduced Word 4 Windows the building society had invested in this new technology to be shared across their branch network. I put myself forward to become a trainer to help employees transition from writing by hand in ledgers to using technology. I had to find ways of breaking down resistance barriers. So I embraced a bit of my own rebellion by cutting down my dowdy green uniform skirt from calf length to knee high and wearing bright pink jelly shoes! The first thing employees laughed at was me and it provided good introduction to 'change'.
- Some time later I applied for a job as a trainer for a travel company. They asked me to do a presentation on anything I wanted. So I did the pros and cons of chocolate cake. Back in those days it was flip-charts and coloured pens. But my interview was never forgotten as they tracked me down a year or so later. Having put together in pictorial form the pros and cons and how to make a chocolate cake I actually ended my presentation with the 'proof is in the pudding' and handed them a chocolate cake!
- I jumped at the chance of presenting good citizenship on behalf of American Express Burgess Hill to then CEO who was on a whistle stop tour of the UK from New York. Fear helped me put together a watertight presentation. I thought I was presenting to and audience of hundreds. As I was told about the opportunity just before Christmas it wasn't til the New Year that I learned that it would be in front of him and a small entourage. Fear and preparation and an assumption that I was talking to a big audience meant that I had every confidence in what I was presenting.
- I joined Toastmasters International in mid 2000s to develop the art of public speaking and spent 5 years with a club in Brighton, taking on opportunities at networking events to host and deliver. My highlight was being asked to be a Toastmaster for ISES Events UK, one of their local co-ordinators had been asked to create an event. One of my favourite opportunities of a personal nature was being Toastmistress for a good friends wedding in Ireland!!
More recently in France I have been asked to share the art of social media to a number of networking groups and I shall look forward to hosting more face to face workshops.
What poignant moments and milestones have helped shape your professional career? Where is your passion and purpose?