Interview with Barbora Kosnarova
How did you begin your speaking career?
Not many people know this (or would believe you if you told them!), but I am an introvert. In spite of this, I have always been fascinated by people and drawn to empower them to do more. And the best way to do that is to get in front of them and talk! I first started working with smaller groups – facilitating workshops and experiential training. This naturally led to being asked to speak at events. I absolutely love it! The interactions, the energy, making people laugh, creating those aha-moments, but most importantly inspiring people to kick-jump into action!
Can you provide 3 tips for successful networking?
Networking is all about connecting with one another! To do this well:
- Before going to any networking event – relax. Tell yourself that it is an amazing opportunity to learn about fascinating people and their stories (everyone loves a good story, right?). Make it about them (not about you). When you focus on yourself, you overanalyse. When you focus on others, your curiosity and kindness kick in!
- Always look for ways to help others. Is there someone you know that they should meet? Is there something they should read about? Be supportive and generous. It will come back to you. (And even if it doesn’t, being supportive feels really good!)
- Ask questions that put people in the positive mindset. Ask what their favourite thing about their job is. Ask about their funniest networking experience. Ask about the best thing that happened to them so far that week. Don’t just ask though; be genuinely curious to hear the answers as well!
Why do clients typically hire you to speak?
Clients enjoy my approachable manner, the facts that I know “my stuff”, I make them laugh and I help them clarify what kind of impact they are looking to create. The topic is never as important as the key message the audience should leave with. And for me, I always go further – asking how do we transfer this learning into action?
Who or what inspires you most?
When I was growing up, even though I deeply cared about people and had many friends, I never quite felt like I belonged. As an introvert it wasn’t easy for me to open up. Later on in life, whenever I would be part of a team, I would make it my mission to make everyone feel included. I would make it my mission to make everyone heard and make them feel that they mattered. And I’m still on that mission.
People are very unique, they come from different backgrounds, have different insecurities, self-believes and different super-powers. I find a lot of inspiration in the vision of creating intentional space within teams, allowing everyone to feel okay and opening up their potential. When we have a feeling of belonging and commitment towards our team, we are willing to go out of our way to make good things happen. I believe there should be more of that in the world! We cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
When it comes to people, I am very inspired by behavioural economist Dan Ariely and entrepreneur Tony Robbins. They have both very strong life stories, good hearts and they are deeply driven to make a difference in people’s lives.
Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?
Probably my first one! For the first time coming to the big stage, having all those eyes on me… and then making people laugh! There’s something disarming when you share a laugh with someone. Now imagine sharing a laugh with a room full of hundreds of people! It’s a great honour to be able to connect over a key idea with so many people at ones and take them on a journey with me.
What leadership qualities do you most admire and why?
- Self-awareness: Self-awareness is one of the most important leadership qualities. It allows leaders to see what impact they have on their people, what they need to improve and be honest with themselves
- Empathy: as a leader you cannot always make everyone happy but you can take notice of the impact things have on people, showing them you care and they matter to you. You should also inspire others on your team to foster team interpersonal sensitivity as well to encourage caring supportive culture.
- Factor X: the most inspirational leaders have some sort of charm in them. It is something we can’t quite put our finger on. It might be labelled as charisma, warmth or ability to understand people’s hearts. Whatever it is, it enables the leader to connect with others in a powerful way!