What a wall of feedback to walk into after leaving the ladies loo!
The woman who delivered this piece of information with a loud voice and tone that needed to be heard by people within the vicinity, was clearly outspoken and wanted to give me her opinion, without me actually asking for it.
This happens to me quite a lot.
Let me Set the Scene…
This was back in 2012, I had been a speaker for a few years and it was my first conference with over 100 people, happening in North Wales for the hospitability, food and drink and local businesses in the area.
My presentation at the time was all about Social Media, where I played a video to give context to what I was about to share. The soundtrack to that video was “Right Here, Right Now” by Fat Boy Slim and I became known as the Fat Boy Slim speaker. The AV guy turned it up and the music spilled out into the rest of the hotel.
I even remember what I was wearing on the day.
Floral jacket, cream top and black trousers with Black Hologram (Limited Edition) Addidas Shell Toe, the same trainers I wore to London and won my first £50,000 contract.
Anyway, back to this statement.
“I thought you would be shit…”
You don’t look much, she carried on… I thought you would be dull and not really know anything.
I stood in awe whilst witnessing this person throwing her opinions, judgement and condensing tone at me, later to find out that she was in “marketing” also.
There are a few lessons in this journal…
- Don’t judge a book by its cover – In this conference, I was an unknown headline speaker brought in by the Business Engagement & European Project Manager of a Welsh College, where I worked for as a Digital Marketing Lecturer. I do know I look young and have many people compliment me on “starting my business when I was in nappies” or saying “you don’t look old enough”. I’ve also had over the years… “you’re not just a pretty face” and someone has even said to me “you’fre lying, you’ve never done all of that”.
- Recognise someone ability – As bold as this person was, it took a lot to come up to someone she didn’t know, saw as a threat and in a round about way say that you were really good. When you see someone delivering and they have wowed you, go and tell them, because they will have worked exceptionally hard to do what they have just done.
- Show up unapologetically you – I’ve never been one for heels, skirts or what could be classes as the normal female professional attire. Wearing my Shell Toe enabled me to move the way I needed to, helped me feel comfortable in my own skin and helped me understand that it doesn’t matter what I wear, what matters is how I deliver and for me to be the best version of me. I need to be me.
- Receive feedback in all the ways it is given – Feedback is exactly that. I listened to what she had to say and thanked her for her feedback. In the next breath, I asked if she would be so bold as to create a video testimonial for me to say the exact words I’ve shared with you… “I though you would be shit…”
- People will underestimate you – When you are not normal (as in looks) or don’t fit in, you may not get the breaks or opportunities as others do, but when you do, show them how amazing you are.
This year (2023), I’ve spoken at a few conferences, business events, facebook groups, inside mastermind groups and memberships. One of the most recent places was a Mastermind Group and after I had finished, there was a break for the delegates to freshen up, grab a coffee and chat with others in the room before we carried on.
He said, she said…
The leader of this Mastermind said to me… “Well, I didn’t expect that… I actually though you wouldn’t be very good…”. I chuckled and he replied… “Why do you laugh?”.
I said, “it’s not the first time someone has underestimated me and thought I’m a young girl, whose only just learnt marketing from my bedroom and don’t really know what I’m talking about”. And instantly, I remembered this lady who said… “I thought you would be shit…”
He replied… I didn’t mean it like that, I just didn’t expect much. I made loads of notes, my team did too and think we need to work with you ourselves.
“At the very moment when people underestimate you is when you can make a breakthrough” ― Germany Kent
Being underestimated is usually based on part of your personality type and happens when someone is perceived to be younger than the others or has not had a chance to concretely proven themselves, yet.
Know that not everyone sees you…
And this is OK.
It means you need to work a little harder to show your difference, keep showing up and ask for opportunities. Most importantly, at all costs, show them what you have to offer.
I’ve been in business for 17 years this year and I have lost a lot of work due to not looking the part, people’s assumptions and opinions of me, including people thinking I haven’t achieved what I have to the point where I even started doubting myself.
However, when you keep going because it’s part of who you are and you know what you have to say is worth saying you start to get different comments.
At an international event I spoke at this year (Bermuda), a member of the cohort had heard me speak on Zoom 6 months prior. This time, we were in the same room and she said…
“You’ve surpassed my expectations; I want to work with you” and so we are…
A review I got from the conference in Wales…
“Amanda is a master at her craft. I first met her when I sat in the audience and watched her give a spellbinding presentation about the types and benefits of social media – and was so impressed by the practicality and depth of her knowledge that I immediately asked her to develop and deliver a series of two day master-classes on Digital Marketing and Social as part of the programme portfolio for my Executive Education.
Those sessions went on to become some of the most highly rated and popular of our courses and several participants went on to engage Amanda personally as their Marketing Coach – with fantastic results.” – Bangor Management Centre
The moral of the story is…
Be you, unapologetically.
Because it nourishes you and brings you opportunities you never knew you could receive.
People will underestimate you, assume things about you, give opinion and throw judgements even when they have no clue who you are, you’re experience or what you stand for.
So, you might as well be the version that keeps you true, your values real and helps you find your edge.
Feel free to share any feedback, stories or interesting opinions you have received by leaving a comment below.