I've always loved speaking to groups. I'm pretty sure I was mastering my skills in Mama Bear's tummy. I remember when I was in middle school, whenever we had an assignment and had a choice between a written or oral report you ALREADY KNOW I was all over option B! So to those who know me personally, it's no surprise that a large part of my career focuses on public speaking. But here's the thing, it took time before I could declare I was #SlayerOfTheMic and my goal is that you'll have the same level of confidence after reading this blog.
5 Quick Tips To #SlayTheMic
1. Embrace your camera:
Before you get comfortable with an audience, you need to get comfortable with yourself! Talking in the camera to watch your facial expressions, hear your tone (we all think we sound awkward at first!)...are major factors that can keep your audience engaged or lose them completely. How did I get comfortable on camera? I acted like it was my best friend I was confiding in! "Girl! Can you believe that burn out is FOR REAL?" Could you imagine how I looked/sounded when you read that? My eyes were wide, my tone was high, my body language was definitely expressive...I made mini clips every day and watched them back to critic myself (which was again, awkward at first but so needed). Look at it this way: if you can take selfies, do IG stories, and Snap...you're definitely ready to transfer those skills to the stage.
2. Know your topic(s):
I can't believe I'm actually saying this but PLEASE know what you're talking about before you except people to pay you to talk about it! This is where 'fake it till you make it' doesn't apply. When you're knowledgeable about your content that shows confidence and professionalism.
3. Don't dismiss unpaid gigs:
I can say without hesitation that if I didn't pro bono events, I would not be the speaker/host I am today. Through social media (especially Twitter), I connected with several community groups because I pitched myself as an event host, keynote speaker, or facilitator who can speak about a variety of topics. I am know to say that I am paid 3 ways: opportunities, money, and blessings. With 80% of my unpaid gigs, I:
4. Connect with your audience's energy:
I can't stress enough the importance of connecting with your audience. I can bet you remember a time you were at an event and the speaker was pretty much speaking to themselves because they weren't doing anything to engage the audience! I especially love looking out for people in the crowd who I am potentially losing. For example, I'll ask the group a question and will make eye contact with the person who needs some 1 to 1 attention. A simple question like "Anyone else been in this situation before? What about you?” is enough to wake up the stragglers because they know at some point, they may get called on. I'm all for audience participation as well because it brings up the energy, gives people the opportunity to share their thoughts/feelings, and ultimately allows you to reconnect with their energy.
5. Treat the stage like it's your playground:
Once when I was hosting TEDx Distirlery District, I had space to move amongst the audience and a very large stage to work with. I loved that I was able to utilize both because it made my audience feel like I was interacting with them individually. Be sure to work the room and the stage simultaneously. Once again, this is another simple technique that demonstrates that you own the stage.
Anyone can be a speaker as long as you have a way to communicate. But...you have to know how to deliver your message and use your voice in a way to captivate your audience AND get booked.
Any of these tips stand out to you? Let me know! Good luck and happy slaying!
Jam Gamble - Connector of People, Ideas and Energy