Education Blog – What I Learned From My Most Recent Speaking Gigs

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On August 25, I had the pleasure of speaking at two public events. They both commemorated the Women’s Suffrage Day (August 26), and reminded the attendees that 2020 is the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage Day. Both speaking gigs were incredible opportunities to meet people and share my insights. What these opportunities also provided was a chance to showcase how my education allows me to bring my best self forward.

Both of my speeches centered around action with purpose. I spoke about why we must act, and why we must lead with compassion. I also made it clear that education was my method of engaging in critical conversations, modeling best practices, and putting myself in spaces where people like me were often left out. I mentioned that educators are seeing their role in helping society move into the 21st century. In other words, Education Matters.

As a speaker, I try to include education (my own or the institution in general) into my narrative because it is so central to who I am. My ability to secure speaking engagements is directly related to my educational accomplishments. Big or small, I have found ways to make them meaningful. I say this because you need to see your education as the investment that it is: an investment in yourself.

Education is something that can never be taken away and will always pay dividends. You cannot unlearn something. You may forget it, but with some review, your learning comes back to you. That is because of how learning is embedded in our neural networks in the brain. Your education transforms you from the inside out and from the cellular level to the psychological level. It is transformative and a source of growth for you.

As a Collegiate Gigster and a Public Academic, you are in the fortunate position to have A LOT of education from which to inform your thoughts and actions. Opportunities to speak publicly will always be informed by your education, so be clear-eyed in your intentions and use your education to your benefit. When you are looking for speaking opportunities, search your educational background (courses you’ve taken, papers you’ve written, lectures you’ve attended) and start formulating informed opinions about the various topics. This action will give you the confidence to see yourself as an expert in many things. If not an expert, at least someone who is coming from an informed position and can contribute to the conversation in positive ways.

I was clear in both my speeches that my political activism is not one that puts me out on the streets with picket signs. My activism is embodied in my job as an educator. Regardless of my political leanings, I see myself as someone who is responsible for encouraging critical thinking in my students; helping them develop informed opinions that then inform their own activism. Education is central to who I am and what I do. See how education lives in you and use this awareness to your advantage as a Public Academic.

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We at the Colégas Group believe that we all need a place to hone our public speaking skills. To that end, we’ve launched a new platform, The Public Academic. It is a platform that allows you to search for speaking opportunities – or Gigs – on college campuses. The venues can be as small as a classroom or as large as a symposium. You will find speaking opportunities that are free and paid. Registering for the Public Academic is easy and free. Just log on to www.PublicAcademic.com and create a profile. Searching is free, and so is applying for free speaking Gigs. If you want to apply for paid Gigs, you’ll need to upgrade your membership to a modest $14.99/mo. The best part is that $14.99/mo is all you pay. There are no other hidden fees. You keep the entire honorarium.

This article also appears in a newsletter published monthly called The Gigster 'Zine! If you would like to receive the newsletter directly to your in-box, you can sign up here.