We’re back with The Speaker’s Journey series.  This week we’re chatting it up with Abbey Kyhl, founder and chief strategist at Seven Summers.  I recently met Abbey virtually.  She responded to my Facebook post about wanting to connect with speakers who were within 1-4 years of speaking.  Her interview shared great insight and I’d like to share it with you today.

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Makeda:  Hey Abbey, thank so much for taking a moment out of your day to share about your journey in your speaking career.  Do you remember your first speaking engagement?  Tell me more about that experience and why you wanted to begin speaking.

Abbey:  Yep, I spoke on a tour for Zenfolio. I was one of the featured speakers on their Las Vegas stop. Prior to that “speaking” engagement, I had been teaching workshops for a couple years, so speaking just seemed like a natural transition.

Makeda:  Oh wow, how cool!  And yes, I can see how speaking would be the next natural step.  So how did you search for speaking opportunities, was it easy or difficult?

Abbey:  I really never had to search for them, until now. Before the last year, they always just kind of fell into my lap (i.e. attending a conference and then wanting to speak at it) or I was invited to speak. Now that we are going full steam ahead with Seven Summers Creative and building a bigger audience there, speaking and teaching is an essential element to that, so we have been seeking them out.

Makeda:  Interesting that you’re using speaking as a marketing avenue for Seven Summers Creative.  Do you feel the speaking industry is saturated or monopolized by a few speakers?

Abbey:  In my industry, yes to both. It is hard to get into certain circles because they rotate through some of the same speakers. But, its not impossible. I think being prepared and really having your side of things prepared make it a lot easier.

Makeda:  Yessss!!!  Despite how secluded it may seem, I’m happy to know that you still are encouraged by booking engagements if you do your part and do it well.  How do you distinguish yourself from these speakers?

Abbey:  I think one of the best ways for me to get into some of these circles and get the opportunities that I have wanted has been being willing to be part of the community first. Being willing to pay my dues. Going to conferences and creating connections and relationships versus just wanting to be a “fly in and fly out” speaker. I think ultimately the reason that many of the places that I want to speak continue to use the same speakers is because those speakers are vital parts of the community and they are insanely loyal to the network.

Makeda:  Wow!! Interesting perspective.  You’ve got to ‘pay your dues’.  I definitely never thought of it that way before.  Talk to me about the number of events you’ve spoken at already and what advice/tips can you give to female entrepreneurs who want to speak?

Abbey:  I have easily spoken at 50+ events / conferences / groups. I think the biggest advice I would give people, is become a part of communities you want to be included in. This also helps you connect with them and present to them on things that are important to them. I also really believe in making sure you really know your audience and speak directly to them. I think too the places where I have been most successful, and places where I have felt most connected hearing other people speak is when they are real and genuine. People want to hear the struggle as much as the success. I also think that providing actionable steps is absolutely essential. You just can’t really gain a following if you don’t give people a take-away.

Makeda:  I 100% agree about the take-aways and the successes and struggles.  People are gonna find it hard to believe that you’ve gained success without trials along the way.  I’ve got one more questions, what would be your dream event to speak at, if you haven’t spoken there already?

Abbey:  My dream speaking engagement would be to have a keynote at the United conference by Showit. I would also love to speak at the Making Things Happen conference.

Makeda:  Girl, keep taking steps in the right direction and I believe you’ll get there!

Did you learn anything from Abbey?  I sure did.  This interview was full of education for speakers on their journey.

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the speaker's journey, abbey kyhlAbbey is the Founder and Chief Strategist with Seven Summers Creative. The 7S focus is “better at business.better at life”. At Seven Summers Creative, we are dedicated to helping you figure out how to be your best self so you can build the best marriage, raise the best kids, build the best business, and ultimately live your best life. And we don’t just want to help you figure it out, we want to help you thrive at it in a way that gives you time in your life to enjoy it. Because at Seven Summers, we believe above all #firstcomestime. Time is the most valuable thing we can spend, so we want to make sure you spend it wisely.  Visit her website and follow her on Instagram.