Awhile ago, I wrote a post titled Why Speak? (go check out the post if you haven’t seen it). In my post, I gave some reasons why you should think about public speaking, if you’ve never done it.
Some Reasons to NOT Speak:
- Maybe you are terrified of standing in front of people (ok – sometimes a little practice will get you over this one. I speak from experience here!).
- You don’t have any ideas that you want to share. You might be an amazing librarian, but you just don’t think in terms of sticking what you do at work into a 30 minute – 1 hour presentation, complete with bullet points and an attention-grabbing call to action at the end. That’s ok!
- You don’t care, or just aren’t that invested/passionate about the topic. That’s a good reason to not speak about it! Maybe also a reason to re-think your job?
- One from Ned – “having too much else [to do] – feeling able to say ‘no’ to what is a good opportunity, because it’s just not the right time, is really important (and underrated).” I’d agree. For example, I’ve said no to presentations around the time my kids were born, and had to cut back on a lot when there was a death in the family. Sometimes life, family, rest, and self-care is more important than doing other things. Or maybe you simply have too many things on your plate – you’re already very busy. So why add on one more thing, even if it’s a great opportunity?
- One more from Ned: “I was also thinking about letting other voices be heard – as a white male I know I’m over-represented at Library conferences (among speakers) as it is. So I like to enquire, when I’m asked to speak, about who else is speaking. If the only other keynotes are also white males, I’d politely suggest they address this issue by getting someone other than me…” I think that’s a great idea, and definitely something to consider. I’d personally lean more on the conference organizers here. If a potential speaker is the one doing the asking … maybe you should re-think that lineup?
So again – reasons to speak, reasons to NOT speak. The same things could be said for reasons to write/not write. Not everyone should write a book/start a blog/do a weekly podcast.
But I’ll guess you DO have something (or a couple of somethings) that you are passionate about (ask Ned or me about drums sometime!). Focus on those things, and see where it takes you!