- While establishing a niche gets us recognized across the healthcare field, many of us get asked to give talks on topics outside of our niche.
- As a young surgeon, saying yes will open up more opportunities and foster important relationships, but there is more to consider.
- When accepting speaking engagements, it's important to be true to yourself.
While establishing a niche gets us recognized across the healthcare field, many of us get asked to give talks on topics outside of our niche. The question is, how should you handle these requests?
The upside of being asked to give any talk is that as a young surgeon saying yes obviously will open up more opportunities for you in the future and will foster important relationships. Also, many senior surgeons have shared that some of their most important and valuable opportunities looked and sounded just like this - unexpected.
Moreover, there is value in giving a talk or presentation about something you may not know much about or have given a talk on before. Developing a talk on a relatively new topic can be a meaningful learning and personal development opportunity. On the other hand, is it worth the effort to give a few one-off talks and presentations? It takes time, energy, and sometimes out-of-pocket expenses to give presentations.
For some of us in minoritized groups, we are asked to speak about gender and DEI issues when it may not be an interest or niche we are looking to build. While you may have the desire to talk about these types of issues as they directly reflect your lived experience, you might feel unqualified because you lack specialized skills and advanced knowledge on the topics. That said, know that sometimes it’s your first-hand experiences that qualify you better than anyone else.
Another factor when considering speaking engagements outside of your niche is whether or not you are taking an opportunity away from someone that would benefit more from giving that talk. Perhaps you know a person for whom the topic fits in their niche. Maybe they would frankly do a better job given the circumstances. There may be value in recommending the person for the talk or presentation rather than doing it yourself.
Ultimately, this is a question of balance. We want to stay focused on a niche, but not be too myopic and miss out on valuable opportunities. We also want to be true to ourselves, while respecting the needs of those that approach us.