One of the great difficulties of trying to get across a message such as mine is the fact that it is very easy to end up talking to the same people all the time.
Even though that core audience may consist of tens of thousands of people, you have to remember that only a very tiny percentage of them are interested; it's a truism of what I do that people only become aware of/interested in stroke when it affects them or a friend or a family member.
Therefore, I have to take every opportunity to widen my audience. My health and my finances often make it difficult for me to actively go out into the wider world and do that (I could do five networking meetings a week, but doing that was what helped put me in this hole in the first place) so I can't afford to turn down chances which are presented to me.
The radio interview which I mentioned in last week's post is a case in point; something similar has happened twice this week. Months ago, I went to Hull to give a talk. Yes, it was a long day; yes, it tired me mentally and physically. But while standing in a queue for lunch, I got talking to a lady who said: "I really must introduce you to someone. She's an academic with an interest in stroke research. You'd be perfect.''
Then, as often happens, the trail went cold for months. Life got in the way. I met the lady from the lunch queue at another event and she said: "I really must....''
Then, the trail went cold for months again. Until I got a message on LinkedIn last Friday, shortly after writing last week's blog. It was from the lady from the lunch queue, finally connecting me with her friend. Messages were exchanged and we agreed to talk on Monday of this week.
That conversation lasted 30 minutes and could have gone on for hours. "Do you know....?'' "Yes, I've met them several times.''. "Have you ever spoken to.....?'' "Yes, regularly."
We have since exchanged contact details, connected across all the important social media channels, I have read one of her research papers and plans are being discussed for me to take part in an exciting project later this year. All because we persisted until the time was right for us to connect properly, a networking mantra which my good friend Stefan Thomas (what Stef doesn't know about networking isn't worth knowing) says is crucial to finding new links and a new audience.
Then, over the weekend, I was contacted by another person with an interest in what I do. Dr Bridget Kirsop lives in south Wales. I've met her once in person, at a networking event late last year. Off the back of that, she invited me to speak at an event in south Wales next month. Now, she wanted to know if I would be interviewed live for her Facebook group 'One Step Closer - Business Success''
As I said last week, three decades of being around the media means that live interviews don't bother me. The group contains over 400 members; some will know me well, some will know me vaguely, some wouldn't know me from a hole in the wall. So it was an opportunity to introduce myself to another audience - even if just one person was interested.
So, we did the interview via Zoom, I hope I scared a few more people into thinking about how stroke might affect them and hopefully, a few more people are aware of The Warrior.
As I said at the start of this piece, I may not be able to do as much as some, but I can do what I can, when I can. Hopefully, the last two weeks have helped with that.