Every week we shine our light on a member of the Speakersbase community. This week, we get to know Jan Leyssens: founder and CEO of Regenerative Design and co-founder of Full Circle Design.
How did you start out with public speaking?
At first, I was giving sales-presentations and presenting result of studies I did for a renewable energy consultancy firm. After a while I started giving more and more lectures, workshops, panel discussions, etc..
I started taking public speaking more seriously when I founded my own design agency. Public speaking turns out to be a great way to get in touch with a lot of people and test (and occasionally get challenged on) your ideas and insights with a broad spectrum of experiences.
Earlier this year I ventured into also giving presentations that are less fact-driven and more based on a personal experience and insights. The lecture performance “The End of the World As We Know It“, that is currently traveling in Belgium and The Netherlands, is an example of this.
What is the best advice you can give to up and coming public speakers?
I strongly believe in authenticity. The power to really immerse people in a story because you yourself are really enthusiastic about it. That’s why my main advice for other speakers will always be: “If you’re not interested in your topic, please don’t bother others with it”.
Apart from that I think the best advice to anyone (beginner or not) is to keep practicing, and keep asking event-organizers for feedback afterwards. Try to scale-up the positive feedback and tone down the negative.
Which speaker blew your mind when you saw him/her speak for the first time?
When I was 7 years old, I had a teacher who would tell and act out Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”. Having a teacher that acts out as if he turned to stone at sunrise has made an insanely strong impact on me. I can still recall the silence and focus in the classrooms when he started talking.
What is your best memory as a public speaker?
It’s always very rewarding to have people come up to you after a presentation and share their insights with you. Recently I premiered with my lecture performance on the makermovement, activism and social innovation.
The goal of this play is to also reach and inspire the people who are not makers, activists or entrepreneurs, and it’s very rewarding to have them come up to me afterwards and hear their stories and ideas.
Recently a 15 year old came to me after the play and asked how he could get involved in designing positive change. Only yesterday I found out he joined a local makerspace with the intention to create new solutions for everyday problems in his neighbourhood. I can’t claim that I sparked his enthusiasm, but knowing that it might have helped in getting him started is very rewarding and humbling at the same time.
Why do you think Speakersbase is the right platform for speakers all over the world?
Because I’m combining public speaking with business model design and strategic consultancy for companies in Circular Economy and social innovation, it made no sense to commit myself structurally and exclusively to an established speakers agency.
I really like how Speakersbase gives me an open platform that brings me in contact with event-organizers, while simultaneously helping me to stay in contact with their and my broader network. I maintain the full freedom and autonomy to choose who I work with and what stories to tell, while at the same time having the opportunity to be surrounded by people who, like me, know and respect the power of a story well told.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jan!
Are you a public speaker on Speakersbase and you want the community to know your story? Contact us and get featured in the next Speaker’s Profile!