Mine Your Past for Access and Credibility

Coal in miner holds. Concept industry mining.

Have you ever heard the quote, “All good things come to those who wait?” Are you, right now, wanting to roll your eyes because you’ve heard it from your mother or perhaps some other adult as you were growing up? I know, I rolled my eyes too. Our past is always present, but many speakers become disconnected from their former professions. It is as if they have deposited their pasts in a lockbox, relegating them to the realm of nostalgia. If you once had success (or sometimes even failure) in vocations or avocations, let those past experiences be your entrée to engagements today.

This advice may seem obvious, but I see speakers all the time—myself included–overlook whole industries or fields where they might be an instant star. Go to the pond where those fishing will immediately recognize the value of the fish you are!  Clients, especially associations, want to ensure that speakers, trainers, and coaches understand the unique needs of their industry. They need assurance that their message will resonate with their members. We know that messages often apply to many contexts, but clients don’t always see that. Therefore, they feel more comfortable presenting “one of their own.”

If you can position yourself as an industry insider, there is instant credibility and easier access for you. And the more diverse background you have had, the more opportunities for you to market yourself in that manner. For those of us reluctant to make cold calls, reaching out to people in a field of which you were once a part is a much easier task since you can position it as you offering assistance to a group for whom you have understandable affection and insight. It gives you the perfect opening line as you connect. And don’t forget to mine your hobbies as well! EVERYTHING in your yesterday is a pond for good fishing today!