In January 2014, I got introduced to somebody, which led to a series of events that made one of my big dreams come true.
When I first started my business, I created a vision board. And on that vision board was a picture of a speaker, delivering a TEDx talk.
My dream of speaking at TEDx finally came true when I got invited to give a TEDx talk in Lugano in 2015.
However, this did not happen by accident.
In this article, I share the steps that led me from having a dream of speaking at TEDx to becoming the first speaker they chose and how you can build relationships with people who can make things happen for you.
1. Have a Dream and Know Why
I believe the first step to achieve anything is knowing what it is and why you want it. Right behind me, as I am writing this, is my vision board. On that vision board is a picture of a TEDx talk in front of a large audience.
Without having that dream of being on stage at TEDx, I’m not sure this would have materialized.
The reason why I wanted to be on stage at TEDx is to share my message with the tribe I feel most connected with.
I wanted this opportunity to inspire more people to live the life they choose to live, and not a life that somebody else chooses for them.
2. Tell People About Your Vision
It’s important to have a vision of what we want to achieve. It’s also important to realize that none of us gets there alone.
We all need each other to create what we envision. We need the support, encouragement, feedback, connections, collaboration and resources others can offer.
In January 2014, I had a call with a potential client who is building bridges between Switzerland, Silicon Valley, and the CIS region to enable faster and better economic growth.
She spoke about her vision of what she wants to create and at some point, I shared that one of my dreams is to speak at TEDx. Immediately, she mentioned that she used to organize TEDx events and knew a few organizers in Switzerland, especially the one from TEDxLugano.
Right after our call, she sent an introduction email to me and the TEDx organizer.
3. Build Relationships of Trust
After the introduction, I reached out to the TEDx organizer and faced my first challenge. He thanked for the introduction and told me that they already had booked all speakers for 2014 but that he can put me on the list for 2015.
He had never met me before at that point and I knew that “being on the list” did not mean much because if he had speakers for 2015 that he knew personally, he would probably choose them first.
So it was on me to build and nurture a relationship of trust.
I thanked him for the update on the speakers list for 2015 and told him I will keep in touch.
I put together a strategic plan to keep in touch with him and build a relationship of mutual benefit.
The system I used to build this relationship is at the heart of LinkedREvolution, which is all about doing business by building authentic relationships instead of pushing and hard selling.
A few weeks after our first contact, I reached out to him again and shared one of my favorite TED talks with him and mentioned why it was so inspiring to me. I continued to keep in touch with him by sharing things like inspiring TED talks every month or so.
It took eight months until I got an email from him. However, it was not a response to an email I sent to him but an invitation for lunch in Zurich because he was passing through the city that day on his way to Lugano. Unfortunately, I only saw it the next day so we missed out on that.
After this, it took another two months until I received an email from him. It was the first time he replied to an email I sent to him after our initial conversation.
I had sent him a very inspiring TED talk on leadership and he replied that this may be the speech they will use for the opening at TEDxLugano 2015. He also asked me if I was still interested in speaking at TEDxLugano.
Of course, I said yes.
The Power of Building Exponential Relationships
What if I had stopped communicating after he told me I’m on the list for 2015? Or what if I would have given up on keeping in touch after not hearing back from him after the first attempt?
Maybe, I would still have been invited to speak at TEDxLugano 2015, maybe not.
The important part about it is that I dramatically increased my chances to become a speaker at TEDx because I created a relationship of trust.
If you are looking for a better way for getting through to decision makers and influencers but don’t want to come over as pushy or “salesy”, use these 5 Email Templates That Make Busy People Say YES.
Below is the TEDx talk I had the honor to deliver at TEDxLugano in 2015.