Public Speaking is My Jam

My name is Tami and I'm a storyteller

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Lifestyle Blogger Chelsea Goodson with Tami Nealy. Photo courtesy of Mikey Campbell, Find Your Influence.

Many people have very strong feelings about public speaking. I am one of them. I LOVE it. 

When I was in elementary school, junior high and high school, friends and family would tell me that I talked non-stop. About everything. You want to know about 1994 lock-out in Major League Baseball? I would go on for hours. I even wrote a letter to then-commissioner Bud Selig to share my thoughts. Want to know the secret codes to beat Super Mario Bros? I could tell you E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. A future focused on talking was my destiny. 

At Grand Valley State University, I elected to pursue my education in advertising and public relations. Two decades and several organizations later, the constant in my career has been my passion to tell stories. I’ve written blogs, pitched stories, mentored teammates and even been interviewed by Anderson Cooper. I love to tell stories that help educate and inform.

To be honest, when I tell stories, there’s often just as much in it for me as as there is for the audience. If I’m writing a blog, I’m spending time researching something of interest to me. This, in turn, makes me a better conversationalist. If I’m preparing to speak to an audience, I invest time to understand who will be listening to me. What interests them most? What problems can I help them solve? This helps me to build trust and credibility when I invest in their interests.

I can’t begin to take all of the credit for my passion for public speaking. Early in my career I met a communications professional who changed my professional life. Cary Pfeffer was a former news anchor turned communications consultant who initially served as my media training coach. I knew I needed to work with Cary to put the polish on my energy and my regular run-on sentences. I am more confident than ever in my public speaking today because of my wonderful mentor, turned friend, Cary. 

In January 2020 I have been asked to speak at three different events in and around Phoenix. On January 10, my colleague Katie White and I will be speaking at the Dames Collective Phoenix monthly MindFUEL on the topic ‘Content is King and Engagement is Queen.’ In the world of influencer marketing, Katie and I know how content can help drive engagement. But what about our audience, what do they know that could make us better marketers?

On January 15, I am the featured speaker at the American Marketing Association Phoenix Chapter’s monthly meet-up. I will be helping marketers and advertisers make a case for influencer marketing programs, within their budgets. It’s not worth anyone’s time to listen to me speak about my experiences for an hour. I am excited to find out who will be attending and dig in to see how I could help them benefit from an influencer marketing strategy.

On January 23 I have been invited to present at a Ted-Style Event in Gilbert at The Forum. My session is titled, “Need It? Build It!” and I will share the story of Find Your Influence, specifically how co-founders Jamie Reardon and Cristine Vieira had a need for a technology to develop and scale influencer programs and when it didn’t exist, they built it. I understand the room will be made up of local individuals looking for inspiration to start their business. I’m hoping to gain some inspiration in hearing from them too!

As I prepare for each of these events, I’m so excited for the research I get to do to learn more about my audience and how I can help them learn more and succeed.

I’m a people person and I like to talk. It’s who I am. And it’s my jam.

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