Usually, I have a nose to sniff out special people and Rachel is one of those people that I would love to meet in real life. She is full of positive passion (so hard not to be infected by her!) and you can tell from the interview below, she loves what she is doing and she gives it her all. That is how I want to live my life – always to the fullest and never to shortchange myself.
For the last Friday of this month, we have the chance to learn more about one of her experiences – that is to become a TEDx speaker.
Thank you, Rachel, for accepting this interview. It is my honor to have this opportunity to understand what your job entails and provide others a peek into your world so maybe someone can learn something from your experience.
Please introduce yourself and where are you from?
Hi! I’m Rachel, originated from Belgian and currently in the Netherlands, but I lived in many countries and plan to discover more!
I am an author, speaker, teacher, career coach, and on a mission to help young professionals who move abroad and struggle to adjust, to transition smoothly, understand the culture, socialize and really enjoy their new Home!
On a personal note, every morning, I go to the gym or go jogging. It relaxes my brain and gives me plenty of energy for the day. As a multi-linguist, I love learning new languages.
I understand that you are a TEDx speaker twice. That is a big achievement! How did you become a TEDx speaker?
Well, I think it’s a process, just like many things you want in life.
You become a TEDx speaker from the moment you performed a TEDx talk and feel that red carpet under your feet.
You have to be invited by someone from the organization to be eligible, and if your talk (i.e. message) fits their theme, you can be selected if the organization agrees.
There are multiple requirements before being able to stand on that stage, which you can find on their website TED.com.
For me, it was a mix of networking, reading about it, being referred, asking a lot of questions, building relationships, and finally applying to be selected.
Once selected, the real work begins. That’s when you have a date and can count down the time you have to prepare. At this moment it’s important to know how to structure the content of a TED talk. Once your content feels good, it’s time to work with a coach to improve the content. Then, you re-write, remove items, add stuff until it feels really good.
Then comes the time to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and if you think you have rehearsed enough, you rehearse again!
What makes you want to speak at TEDx?
As a speaker, who wouldn’t want to speak at TEDx?
This is the BEST, the most wanted, and just simply ‘’the best’’.
I mean, even if I’ve been speaking internationally for great global organizations, it’s never as known as TED.
No matter who you talk to, a student, a director, the person sitting next to you on the plane, or your brother, everybody knows a TED talk. And because it’s such a high quality, people just know the talk must be good, otherwise, you won’t appear or make it through to TED.com.
So what did you talk about during the 2 speeches?
My first talk ‘’Your next step’’ is about achieving your goals and dreams in life, specifically how to achieve them. First, most of us have dreams but very often we stop ourselves by negative thinking ‘’I can’t, I’ll never make it, what will others say?’’ We can learn to turn them around. Secondly, making mistakes is a GOOD thing, it gives you experience and it means you’re trying! Third, use failure as feedback. Failures are lessons you learn from to do it better the next time.
So, take that first, small step…
My second talk ‘’stop comparing. Be the BEST You!’’ is about how many of us compare ourselves to others and this results in feeling bad. We tend to look at others thinking ‘’I wish I had his career, I wish I had her body, I want a house like them’’…. It’s human nature, so it’s understandable, but it’s also what makes us feel very bad and stops us from taking actions in our own lives.
It’s important to be aware of comparing and realize that the outside appearance is NOT the entire truth. We are FOOLED to believe other’s life’s are better than ours.
Instead, look at others to be INSPIRED and learn from them, so you can grow and tell your own story….
Wow! Did you learn something from the experience? How did the experience change you?
YES! I always learn, and this is an amazing experience to learn from. I learned how to build a speech with the highest standards, and how to construct the content to be internationally understood and not time bounded. This makes the creation of other speeches easier.
I also learned a bit more about camera performance, which I use again when my speeches are filmed.
The entire experience brought me more clients whom I coach in creating or improving their speeches, but also people facing interviews or presentations.
Important are the content, but also the verbal and non-verbal performance during the speech.
And lastly, my favorite, showing your confidence, no matter what! I love boosting someone’s confidence and then see them shine. Amazing!
So I take it that you will do it again in a heartbeat?
ABSOLUTELY! Would love to. Anybody reading this, who has contacts for a big TED event, please let me know. I wish to share a message about cultural competence in this global and diverse world!
You are an inspiration yourself. Who inspires you in life?
Inspiration comes from everyone and on a daily basis. I talk to many different people all over the world on a daily basis and find inspiration from all of them. From a friend raising 3 children alone, or a public speaker standing in front of huge audiences, or a client in India, to my brother growing his own business.
There’s inspiration everywhere around me and I love observing it.
How do you find satisfaction in your work?
Seeing someone develop themselves to achieve their goal and become a better version of themselves, it’s the greatest satisfaction!
What does passion mean to you? Are you pursuing your passion aggressively?
To me, passion means helping people to be inspired and motivated to become who they want to be.
Through teaching, talking, coaching, speaking, or my books, I hope to inspire people to achieve their goals.
I don’t like the word ‘’aggressively’’, but YES, I am pursuing my passion!
Last but not least, any tips for someone who wishes to be a successful public speaker?
Many tips, but here’s a selection:
– If you can dream it, you can do it!
– Don’t let anybody stop you from pursuing this, even if you’re a true introvert, you can learn it.
– Surround yourself with only supportive people who motivate you
– Watch a LOT of other speakers, online and offline
– Create several speeches
– Always get a coach, whether it’s about the content, or the performance, or your confidence, or just to get proper feedback.
– If you are doubting yourself, even a little, watch both my TEDx talks
– Practice your speeches in front of the mirror, it helps you remember it faster.
About Rachel Smets
Rachel Smets is a bestselling author, TEDx speaker, Lecturer International Business, Life coach and Cultural Trainer.
She has been living abroad in various countries and has learned to turn every challenge into a new opportunity. Through her experience, she developed a passion for languages and cultural diversity.
In her work, she helps people achieve international competence. Specifically, for young professionals living abroad, Rachel takes away the overwhelm and any feeling of homesickness while settling in, resulting in a successful stay abroad, while socializing and developing oneself.
Rachel also coaches ambitious people with their speeches, job interviews, and presentation skills.
Her bestseller ‘’Awaken your confidence’’ explains how you can build confidence step by step. Her newest book Living abroad Successfully: What, Where, When, How, is a complete and practical guide from deciding to live abroad to enjoying a successful stay abroad.
Rachel loves to inspire people and help them to become their best selves!
TEDx Talk #1: Your Next Step https://goo.gl/Fi5Q4j
TEDx Talk #2: Stop comparing. Be the best YOU. https://goo.gl/ZosbCm
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Course: Steps to achieve your dreams and take charge: http://bit.ly/UdemyTakeControl
Course: Living abroad Successfully: Lifetime access to 26 lessons and activities to help you Live Abroad and truly succeed: https://goo.gl/NiVoDS