Two resources you might be interested in

First up: Salary Survey

Last year I compiled salary and compensation data from over 100 organizations in Metro Vancouver. Hyper-local compensation data broken down by organization budget, and as many position types and subsectors as I could while keeping confidentiality. I released the report late last year but I neglected to share the final report with my website followers. If you use the code IMAWESOME you can get 20% off.

Find the 2016 Metro Vancouver Nonprofit Sector Salary Survey here.

What do purchasers say they find helpful?

  • “Local, current data.”
  • “The quartile benchmarking for non profits of different sizes. It totally helped me gauge whether our salaries were competitive and which positions’ compensations needed to change as a result.”
  • “Salary categories with differing organizational budgets; excellent work for the cost charged – THANK YOU!”
  • “I especially appreciated the segmented data for arts and culture organizations. This will come in very handy for our organization as we begin a transition process for some senior leaders.”
  • “It was a major force in renegotiating my contract with confidence and grace. Thanks for your hard work.” 

Next: Network building for introverts

I’m working on an e-book with the working title The Introvert’s Guide to Building Networks: an anti-networking manual.

If the idea of networking has never really resonated with you, I’d love to hear your input on the draft so far. I’ve completed sections on being strategic, events, and meetings/gatherings. The draft is open for comments–feel free to add yours!

Bonus: Race in the nonprofit sector

Nonprofits have to face biases about who is qualified to lead and why. (Race to Lead)

I’ve been doing a lot of personal and professional reflection on race and diversity lately, and really appreciated the Race to Lead report from the Building Movement Project. I’ve only got through the key findings so far, but the full report looks to be a valuable and timely read. The report is free and easy to download.

Nonprofits have to transfer the responsibility for the racial leadership gap from those who are targeted by it (aspiring leaders of color), to those governing organizations. (Race to Lead)

That’s it! Enjoy.

Not your average public speaking advice for introverts

Microphone
Image credit: Paul Hudson

One of the themes I’ve heard from my interviews with quiet changemakers over the past two years is related to public speaking, so a while back I put out a question to the Quiet Changemaker community via email (sign up at trinaisakson.com) and Facebook.

How do you approach public speaking that might be unique/helpful to quiet changemakers? What helps you speak in public successfully? How do you know when your talk/presentation has gone well? When do you feel good about speaking in public?

The insights are not the usual public speaking advice. Some of it conflicts, but all of it is interesting.

It’s important to note that being quiet does not mean a hatred/fear of public speaking. I know people who are quiet who are great at and enjoy speaking in public, and more extroverted folk who are the opposite. However, there are tactics for public speaking that are unique to the more introverted among us.

What are the themes that quiet changemakers can learn from?

Know if public speaking is for you.

It’s not for everyone. You might love it. You might see it as a learning opportunity, as Sandra shared via email:

As an introvert who doesn’t enjoy public speaking, I don’t actively seek out these types of opportunities, BUT if I am asked to speak, I never say no as it is a chance to challenge myself, grow, and get feedback from others.

Or you might see it as a unnecessary task that you can delegate to others who may be better at this form of communication. Only you know if it’s an activity that is meant for you.

Treat public speaking as a performance.

This theme cropped up very clearly when interviewing quiet changemakers. We see public speaking as a performance. We go onstage and are “on”, give a talk, then are “off”. We’re a little bit outside ourselves when we talk, as though we are seeing ourselves giving a dramatic monologue rather than focusing on the audience. As per usual, we’re more inner-focused.

In line with this thinking, I took a workshop a few years ago (targeted to university instructors) on body, space and voice. It was led by two education professionals, one of whom is also an actor. We practiced using our voice and body in ways that might feel too BIG or unnatural, as though we’re taking up too much space, but in reality look quite natural from the audience. It was a fantastic experience to be able to play with gestures and tone.

Create a public speaking persona.

One quiet changemaker shared that when he speaks in public, he uses a persona that is an exaggerated version of himself. It’s a bit more dramatic, sillier, grander, even stranger than his daily self. For him, this is a form of protection. If people give him negative feedback, he knows it’s directed to this persona, and not his true self.

Speak who you are.

Conflicting with the previous advice, on the opposite end of authenticity, Tony suggested the importance “of being authentic and true to yourself.” He shared his version of a Parker Palmer quote “The best teachers teach who they are,” which probably comes from the true Parker Palmer quote “You are who you teach.” Or not.

Either way, public speaking comes in many forms and purposes, and it’s important to know what purpose your talk has, and what comes most naturally for you.

Are you an inspirational storyteller? (I’m know I’m not….those talks totally turn me off. Bleh. ) Are you an influencer? Are you an educator?

I’m definitely the last one, and am upfront about it when I speak. A keynote I did last year on leadership and volunteer engagement made sure to emphasize that my goal was not to make the audience feel warm fuzzies about the spirit of volunteerism, but instead was meant to provide a new perspective on volunteer engagement, with 3 actions to take the next day using this new lens.

Remember, people are forced to hear you. No interaction required.

Good public speakers know how to read an audience and adjust as necessary. I use this all the time in the classroom, whether to allow more time for an exercise that has people excited, or cut something short if energy is waning.

However, one of the reasons I enjoy public speaking (and other forms of performing in public, like dance) is that it’s not a two way conversation (no matter what the advice articles say). Most of the communication is from you to the audience. Public speaking is an opportunity to be alone, but in front of others.

Also…no interruptions! (Hopefully.) Mandy shared on Facebook that she feels better about public speaking more than group discussion because:

“I do not have to fight for a turn to speak. I will take this over being drowned out by loud group members any day!”

It’s a chance to talk about something you’re passionate about.

Quiet changemakers are often mistaken for extroverts because they can talk a lot, and excitedly, about things they are passionate about, and may even dominate a room (I know I can!)

Public speaking gives quiet changemakers a chance to speak about something they love, and usually people are in the audience because they are interested in that same topic. No need to exhaust yourself finding intellectual chemistry in a crowded room. Yuck!

Book quiet time afterwards, but not right away.

After a day of facilitation, I often go to bed WAAAY early. Public speaking can be fun and enjoyable and EXHAUSTING. Susan Cain has spoken of booking time for herself after her talk, about not taking too many questions or sticking around to schmooze.

I enjoy some Q&A after, as again it gives me an opportunity to chat more about something I’m interested in AND it gives me an opportunity to get feedback on my talk. Also, after a talk people know who you are and come to you, so you don’t have to look around awkwardly to find people to make chit chat with.

How do you approach public speaking that might be unique/helpful to quiet changemakers? What helps you speak in public successfully? How do you know when your talk/presentation has gone well? When do you feel good about speaking in public?

On my way to Myanmar/Burma

Myanmar tickets

I’m heading to Myanmar (Burma) for six months. Literally on my way now (writing this from the Vancouver airport).

Out of the blue you say? Yeah, for me too. There was less than 4 weeks between accepting the offer from Cuso International and leaving the country. In the middle I’ve rented my condo, got vaccinations and the variety of health/police checks, got my foster cat adopted, spent 5 days in training in Ottawa with Cuso, visited family, and wrapped up a few non-travel things. It’s been a whirlwind.

What am I doing in Myanmar?

Doing what I do in Canada, but in a new context. While I don’t know the specifics, my volunteer role title is “Stakeholder Mapping Consultant”. I’ll be working with Local Resource Centre,a central umbrella/capacity building/hub organization to the nonprofit sector—aka civil society in Myanmar—in their new Mawlamyine office.

I’ll be researching what is going on in civil society in Mon state, the “landscape” – who’s doing what, with who, for who, to what ends, with what resources, with what skills, and with what challenges. And going from there. Or so I understand at the moment. It’s possible that my work may change once I’m there, but I’m sure it will stay in the general realm of “nonprofit sector capacity building.”

I’ll blend my skills for listening, asking good questions, facilitating, researching, and strategizing, to learn about civil society in Mon state and give that learning back to the sector.

Want to contribute to Cuso International’s work (and get good vibes and a tax receipt)? I’m trying to raise $500 before my birthday on September 9th. Donate here!

What will I continue while away?

I’ll continue my outreach re: a data strategy for BC’s nonprofit sector. It can take time for money and other assets to come together, so I’ll stay in touch with a variety of stakeholders and collaborators.

Quiet changemaker project. This will be my downtime/alone time hobby. Writing. Agent/publisher pitches.

My research agenda aka manifesto—emergent trends that I feel the nonprofit sector needs to act on. I want to increase my focus on these areas in a research and strategy capacity upon my return, so I’ll continue to network with allies and share my thinking as time allows (like I am doing with the data strategy). I’ll share this research agenda in a future post.

Staying connected. Depending on internet access, I’d like to have at least one Skype chat a week with an interesting person in order to stay connected, stay inspired, and stay informed.

What am I putting on hold?

I’m not taking on any new contracts while I’m away, but am happy to have exploratory conversations about future contracts. I’ll be back in Canada for the end of the fiscal year for Canadian government and many other clients, so I’ll be ready to jump into contract work and consulting upon my return.

Do Good Better Podcast. I hope to release the remaining interviews I’ve already conducted, but unless it fits with my work objectives in Myanmar, I won’t be spending time on it while away.

Wish me luck and health! Stay in touch—it’s a connected world, even in Myanmar.

PS. Will you donate to Cuso? It’ll take you about 5 minutes online, and you will get my gratitude and a charitable tax receipt (or my non-Canadian friends, you’ll get just get my gratitude)!

Don’t get in the way of others who see you as a leader

When others remark positively on your leadership characteristics, how do you respond?

If you’re like me, not well.

A colleague/friend/mentor recently told me that he sees me as someone who has a strong vision for the future for the nonprofit sector, and that I do work with others who also want to get there. I’m out in front. I’m a sector thought leader.

I did not accept the compliments of ‘visionary’ and ‘futurist’ gracefully. He told me that while I might not see myself as a sector leader, I should not get in the way of others who see me in that light. He thought that I picture my circle of influence as much smaller than it is and could be.

Something for me to chew on. I don’t question my ability, but as an independent actor outside of the nonprofit sector institutional framework, I do question my influence at a high level sometimes. It’s not that I’m not interested in influence at a high level, but it’s not the first lens that I see my work through.

I’m a bit of a “keep your head down and work hard in service of clients and educating others” kind of person. Framing my work in a different, more expansive, light, is not something that comes instinctively.  This obviously relates back to my interest in quiet changemakers–those who do great work and have great influence irrespective of the spotlight.

A better, alternative, response my colleague’s comments might have been

Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say that.

Simply. Acknowledge. The gift.

How do you respond to professional compliments?

When others around you speak of your personal or organizational influence, does it match how you see yourself?

What’s the story others tell about you? What’s the story you tell about you? What’s the story you want others to tell about you? And are you reaching high enough?

Success as an Introvert for Dummies [book review]

Because of my work on the Quiet Changemaker book, I read a lot of books about/for introverts. The really vary in quality. But this one, Success as an Introvert for Dummies by Joan Pastor, PhD, is solid.

Succss as an Introvert for Dummies
The book is an overall guide to knowing more about yourself as an introvert, accepting yourself as an introvert, and providing tactics to build on your strengths and to know when introversion works against you. It covers all aspects of life–leadership, career, love, family–in high-level ways. Overall a very good introduction to life as an introvert for those who haven’t done a lot of self-exploration.

What works well

The language is very accessible. Where Quiet by Susan Cain can be dense and research-heavy, Success as an Introvert is light and conversational.

It covers all the main bases. As I mentioned above, it provides an overview of what being an introvert means in leadership, career, love, family, and just generally as an individual trying to make things work in an extrovert-centric world.

The author doesn’t suggest “overcoming” introversion. Some books oriented to introverts focus a lot of their advice on pushing people out of their comfort zones. Instead, Pastor focuses mostly on realities of introversion, where it works for you, when it might not, and how to use your strengths to overcome challenges.

Some great insights. My favourites include the sections “Breaking the rules — successfully” (on how introverted strengths can lead to better meeting facilitation), “When Playing the Extrovert Can Work”, and especially “Anticipating the Challenges of Leading as an Introvert”:

  • People may mistake your introversion for aloofness or arrogance.
  • People may mistake your introversion for a lack of self-confidence.
  • You may hit “people burnout.”
  • Multi-tasking can take its toll.
  • You may miss some of the facts you need to know.

What doesn’t work

Success as an Introvert makes what I consider a lazy mistake when it comes to advice (on leadership especially). Rather than sharing insights that are relevant specifically to introverts, Pastor just shares general tips that are relevant to everyone, regardless of the person, and doesn’t relate it back to introversion as strongly as I think she could. She covers things like “SMART Goals” and “Creating a contract with your team” which belong in more general personal/professional leadership books.

Perhaps the author makes the assumption that people reading this book aren’t also reading other self-development books. The “For Dummies” franchise may know its audience well and this may be a strategic move, but it meant that for readers like myself who do a lot of personal development reading, I had to fight the urge to skip sections.

Overall

A great introduction. If you identify as an introvert or recently received a suggestion that you might be an introvert, but haven’t done much reading on the topic, this is a great place to start. Also a great read for managers or family members of introverts.

Unofficial off-the-top-of-my-head rating?

B+. I got it from my local library, but I may considering buying it as a resource to reference.

 

Writing chapter 1

After having many conversations (including a group gathering recently!) about quiet and changemaking with quiet changemakers big and small, it’s time to actually write. My goal for the Quiet Changemaker project was always to first write a book.

Part of my personality results in my collecting LOTS of data before moving forward. It makes me a good researcher for my consulting clients but it means I sometimes take too much time before implementing personal projects I’m working on.

Rather than “Ready, Aim, Fire” it’s more like “Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim….”

So I’ve had dozens of conversations with quiet changemakers. I’ve read dozens of books related to quiet and/or changemaking. I follow dozens of blogs related to quiet and/or changemaking.

It’s time to fire.

I’m writing Chapter 1 so I can share it and shop it around to potential agents and/or publishers. This is a very new process for me, feel free to offer advice! I’ve read resources on publishing and talked to a few people who have been successfully published, but I always welcome new connections and ideas. I’m not ruling out self-publishing either.

No matter which path I chose, it will start with Chapter 1.

Quiet Changemaker Project: update, resources, meetup

Quiet Changemaker Project Logo

Tonight I had the opportunity to meet up with four other quiet changemakers in Vancouver (much discussion over the word “changemaker”). I heard refrains of “it was nice to hang out with people who don’t exhaust me” or “it was nice to not have to struggle to be heard”. We all happened to be people who work independently in builder/helper roles–ones that create, hold things together, and make them better. Not all of us identify as introverts but we definitely identify as quiet. People who make an impact without waves. Nice folks :)

Previous blog posts you may be interested in

You also might be interested in…

a few interesting resources that came up in conversation. I don’t remember them all, but here are a few to get you started. What have you read or listened to lately that has helped you be a better quiet changemaker?

Caring for Your Introvert (article from 2003 in the The Atlantic by Jonathan Rauch)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (book and TED talk by Susan Cain)
the book is a dense read, but shares interesting research and anecdotes

Introvert Advantage (Dr. Marti Olsen Laney)
this book was recommended to me when I first learned about being an introvert back in 2006, and it really helped me in the ways I think about work, life, and relationships with others

Future meetups

We thought having a meetup without commitment would be great. No pressure. Bring a book or something to listen to. If no one else shows up, it’s OK, you have some time booked off to yourself :) Dates TBA. If you would like to do something similar in another city, let me know.  

Working on chapter 1

The Quiet Changemaker Project was first envisioned as a book, and I’m working on Chapter 1 so that I can shop the idea around. What would you expect to see in the first chapter?

PS…

I’ve started a podcast on trends and issues facing nonprofit leaders and social innovators. Search for the Do Good Better Podcast on your favourite podcast app.