It’s odd to notice the shifts in the value I create for people. For example, tonight, Girl Geeks Toronto is hosting a discussion on women in technology. Initially invited to be one of the panelists, I suggested that I might create more value by sketchnoting the discussion so that the conversation can continue beyond the evening. A friend suggested that I submit a talk for TEDxOCADU in January. Talking to the organizers led to the possibility of my sketchnoting the event instead of speaking at it.
Of course, sketchnoting doesn’t preclude participation. I prepared sketchnotes for my “Shy Entrepreneur” talk at the Toronto Reference Library before I gave it, and I could put in the extra time to prepare a presentation for an event I’m already sketchnoting. But a prospective speech tugs at my attention at random times, fills my brain with odd audio snippets and visual concepts, and generally makes life a little crazy before the event. I like the fact that sketchnoting lets me connect with lots of people without the stress of having presentations rattle around my brain for weeks.
Speaking and sketchnoting meet different goals. Speaking positions you as an expert, while sketchnoting allows you to reach more people in the course of continuing the conversation. My primary goal for public speaking in the past had been to ease the process of meeting people – the introvert’s ultimate conference hack, because people start conversations with you instead of you starting the conversations yourself. Channelling other people’s ideas is a different sort of contribution from sharing your own experiences. It’s worth experimenting with, especially as I continue to build skills and collect stories for future talks.
And of course, there are all these other ways I can create value – building systems, writing, social business consulting, and so on – but my attention can be on only one thing at a time, so I can leave the other capabilities for people to discover through my blog or through interaction. I can build a network of people to refer opportunities to as well.
If life is a start-up, perhaps this is a pivot – recognizing that your value proposition is changing in response to what people want and need.