I’m Geena Matuson,
arts technologist, educator,
author and speaker.

A multimedia storyteller, I use print, digital, web, video and social to tell cohesive stories that prioritize relationships.

Tips from TEDx speaker Tayo Rockson: Own your narrative

Tips from TEDx speaker Tayo Rockson: Own your narrative

Tayo Rockson, speaker and author, at a mentor session with Next Gen Summit at #NGS2019

I sat down with Tayo Rockson at the 2019 Next Gen Summit in NYC, looking for advice about sharing my personal message and developing my brand as public speaker and author. This five-minute audio clip features brand and storytelling advice from Tayo, diversity and inclusion expert, speaker and author.

Tayo gives me tips on how to start my speaking career, and “it all starts with that: who your audience is, what you want to serve, and what your audience is around that.”

Noting technology and communication is the driving unifier across my work, he advises to “create content around those ideas, whether you do that through video, art or writing, you’re going to find your narrative. Tell the audience — or me — why you feel that connection and why technology is that important. Creating those narratives allow you to become a speaker; you need a framework.”

I appreciate the guidance. So often I’ll approach someone and ask how they arrived from point A to B (or, often, point “M” down the line), and I’ll receive a vague, overarching tagline. It’s not actionable, and not terribly enlightening. This conversation is an exemplification of Tayo’s advice; come up with an actionable step-by-step plan to share with others and create that narrative, thereby creating value.

“…whenever you’re pitching someone who’s a publisher,” Tayo notes in regard to authorship, “they want to see you have an idea of what you want to speak [about], to see if you have an audience, and why it’s important. So being able to say ‘these are the three steps’ or ‘seven things you can do' and these are ways it’s worked for my audience’ and are relevant, ‘here’s how it’s helped, and here’s a talk I did on this.’”

“If you have technology as your hub and you have these three things: art, relationships and communication, come up with a system as to why technology helps or hinders these things. You know, three to five step — but make sure you have a framework.

This can be expanded into a workshop, where you spend a significant amount of time working on one point, and have people doing and building things out. It could be a speech where you cover three points in an hour (or forty minutes), where you give people tips and actionable things. Or it could be a book where you flesh-out each point; you have relevant examples and you have exercises.”

After this meeting, I started developing frameworks and processes for speaking, and for my business going forward.

It’s always easier to do work for others than it is for yourself, I find. I create tutorials and step-by-step plans for others in regard to programs and processes, but the idea of speaking about these ideas confused my usual process. It can really help to listen, even when you think you know what’s going to be said; you may hear something that seems “obvious” — but it wasn’t obvious to you.

You can find Tayo’s new book Use Your Difference to Make a Difference: How to Connect and Communicate in a Cross-Cultural World’ on Amazon. You can also listen to the podcast on Soundcloud.

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