This was my first public speaking event in years so you can only imagine how nervous I was. Last year I volunteered at the event and got so inspired that I set myself a goal to speak there the next year.
When I found out that I was accepted to speak at the event this year my feelings ranged from sheer excitement to paralyzing fear of failure.
How could I possibly measure up with the other speakers who were so much more experienced than I was? The Spark organization must have read my thoughts because us speakers received a fantastic prepping session from Tara Phillips of Cause & Affect Speeches.
I can warmly recommend her sessions to everyone looking to upgrade their public speaking skills. It took me a pile of colourful PostIts, several cups of green tea (okay, some wine may have been consumed in the process too…) and a mini vacation to Venice, but one day I just was ready to talk about Polishing Your Personal Image.
The day was kicked off by an upbeat key note speech from Colleen Geske, the brain behind a hilarious blog-turned-bestseller: Stuff Dutch People Like. She spoke about her way to success, hickups on her book publishing path and that ugly moment when she got mansplained.
I knew about SDPL but I could never imagine it’s owner was such a fantastic person. We all have a lot to learn from Colleen and I admire her wit and perseverance. Long story short:
“Your success should look like you and no-one else.”
For me this was definitely highlight of the conference -and that was only the beginning! Colleen’s speech was soon followed by a break-out session from Stephanie Ward of Firefly Coaching. I had the pleasure to meet Stephanie at the last year’s event and I have been a keen follower of her work ever since.
With Stephanie it feels like you have your very own marketing department and this year’s theme “Pricing & Packaging Tips to Create a Business Model that Serves You & That Your Clients Love” was yet another dip into the eternal pool of her wisdom.
After delicious and healthy Cropbox lunch it was time for more break-out sessions and my speech. My topic was “Polishing Your Personal Image”. I approached the subject from three different angles: Communication, appearance and digital presence. These elements form your image that is your best calling card and the only aspect of your career that you have a full control of. Your image is also one of the best self-investments you can ever make.
I had a lovely audience who listened carefully and came up with great questions afterwards. Thank you for everyone who came to listen and thank you for the organizers for giving me this wonderful opportunity! If you missed it you can view my slides here.
After the second break-out session we gathered to listen to most inspiring female economy stories at Global Female Entrepreneurship Panel where Maneuela Damant of Open the Door Leadership, Nassira Boudhan of Fashion for Education and Kanak Hirani of Pashm and Karigar shared their views on how to provide opportunities for women around the globe by empowering them. This session was a real eye-opener for me and it had a very powerful message!
Last year I on Image was a proud sponsor of the fantastic event and it was my first outing as an entrepreneur. I made some really wonderful contacts at the event and with some of them I am still in regular contact. I was delighted to see how this movement has grown over a year, just like my own business has.
Read more about my goody bag offer at SPARK 2015 here.
Speaking of goody bags: I loved it! My favorite items were healthy EatLiveLoveFood crackers and a fun desk exercise card from TotalSelf. We even did some of the exercises in the interactive session “When you thrive, your business thrives: Best practices for protecting your most important asset” but your own desk at home or at the office is probably the place where they are most efficient. Either way:
“Remember to take care of number one (yes, that’ll be you).
It’s not selfish, it’s an investment.”
The wonderful day was closed by Emmy McCarthy of Emmy McCarthy Consulting. I am a long-term fan of Emmy who is best known for her community building at Amsterdam Mamas where I volunteer as a community admin since 2014.
Emmy starting her own consulting business was huge news in our community because everyone was always asking for advice from her and wondering if they should really be on the clock since she always managed to have the best ideas and answers for us. Her closing notes were no exception to this.
I was particularly fond about her views on how individuals can add value to their communities by simply contributing to them. Her observations were sharp and spot on:
“Focusing on collaborative growth allows us to drive forward a new economic model that is focused on the value which we provide to our communities rather than the value that we can extract from them.”
You can read her closing notes in full on her blog post.
It was so nice to see everyone again and to make new connections. I felt I was a part of something very special and that energy carries a long way.
Thank you for everyone who made this inspiring day possible!
I am looking forward to the 2017 event already!
Your image consultant with an eye for detail
P.S. Do you love that lilac Inna Store dress that I am wearing as much as I do? I have good news for you: I am about to release an exclusive Inna Store discount code for my fans only so you can get your own beautiful Inna dress after the holidays. More information will follow… Keep an eye on this space! In the meantime you can read my blog post about my visit to Inna showroom in Rotterdam!