How to Be Seen & Heard How YOU Want #TruthbyBrenda #TrueStory
You might know that I performed at a big music industry showcase a few days ago.
If you weren’t there or on the livestream, imagine this…
Indie folk band.
And then me… Indigenous woman in regalia gets up on stage with frame drum. Then the water/womb healing ceremony with a channelled medicine song… with a guitarist I’ve never played with, after only one rehearsal, and I have to say Tim Bones was amazing! After that, I had them. I captivated the audience, even people who were like what the hell is this? Lol
I had a plan going in. And even when I had a major, horrible setback, I still managed to do it.
Out of about 7 or 8 different bands I saw… I had the biggest and most engaged audience of all of them. And because of many of you, I got a prime time spot on stage. So these were like really good bands. But yeah, I had a plan AND I allowed Spirit to flow through and outside of that plan.
This is in the crazy order that it happened, so you know I’m not perfect, I didn’t have the plan all figured out right away, and I improvised when necessary.
HOW I DID IT… and how you can too, with whatever your big passion is and whatever your reason is to be seen and heard.This is how you get yourself seen and heard in the way YOU want to be remembered.
1. Once you say YES, put that YES into action. As soon as I said YES to this gig – and I was seriously considering saying NO for a few days before I made my decision – I sat down and designed my set list (song choices). Which songs would be best for this audience to get their attention? Then I planned the in-between-the-songs stuff. What was I going to say? What message did I want to share? How could I make myself stand out? So ask yourself these questions. What’s your message? What will touch and move the audience best? How can you stand out, even if it’s just you going to a networking event, or meeting with someone influential?
2. Make the commitment. Get it into your calendar. As soon as I had my set list and ideas laid out, I marked down rehearsal time for that day and every day after, in my calendar.
3. Rehearse and take it up a notch! I rehearsed my ass off! There were only maybe 2 off days where I was dealing with grief or intense body pain, that I didn’t rehearse. Other than that, I rehearsed every single day. Now, I didn’t just practice the songs. When I rehearse, I act as if I’m on the stage, doing the show, with the people in front of me. I imagine they’re actually there. I wave at them. I encourage them to participate in my interactive pieces. I prance around in my apartment with my mic in my hand because yes, I have a mic and mic stand so I can make it real. I even set up a table for my drum and sacred items. I said the things I’d say to the audience… and that was when I realized I was missing some pieces…
4. Do Your Research and Invite a Positive Response. I realized that I had never thought seriously about how to begin and end a song effectively, like what you say and do to elicit a good crowd response, besides “and the next song blah blah”. That is a serious gap in my ability to put on a great show. After all my 31 years of professional singing, I’d never done that before. And now, with me doing sacred indigenous healing songs (not just reggae like I used to), often the audience doesn’t know if it’s appropriate to clap. So I learned how to invite applause from the audience. I also asked my friends and supporters to clap especially after the ceremony, so people would know it’s okay to do that. If you want to be seen and heard YOUR way, you’ve got to literally set the stage for that, through your actions, your stance, your words, and your wardrobe.
5. Create an Experience. Instead of just creating a set list of songs I would perform, I created a true show. I created an experience for people. I hired a guitarist – the lead guitarist from my friend’s rock band. I knew he’d be good but he was way more than good. There’s also a fine line between over-rehearsed, over-scripted talks and freely channelling what you’re saying or doing. We’ve all had those telemarketing calls where they’re literally reading from a script. When you’re expressing yourself, do as much as you can from your heart and soul and leave the script behind. It takes practice, like every day, but it’s so much more powerful that way. So when you rehearse, never speak word for word exactly the same every time. Then if you forget one part, you’re screwed on stage, but also it will sound stilted and feel devoid of your energy.
6. Promote Yourself, even if you’re not a business owner. Let the influential people in your circle know what you’re up to and ask for their support to help you be seen and heard. Keep in mind HOW you want to be seen and heard and what you want to be known and remembered for. I started talking about this whole thing on social media, at in-person social events and with friends, before I even really knew what I was going to do. I thought about HOW I wanted people to see me. You don’t have to know the whole picture to give people a teaser about something you’re about to do. It gets people excited for you and supporting you before the word even gets out. I familiarized myself with the marketing materials they gave me – which wasn’t much – so I made my own marketing materials and had my assistant set those up for me, as well as doing some spur of the moment ones on my own.
7. Ask Questions to Get Clear. I asked a lot of questions of the event promoter, and of myself. I wanted to know as much as I could about the opportunity, the venue, the stage, the sound system, as many details as I could get. Even if it’s just you going out to a social event or a drumming retreat, the more you know about what you’re getting into, the more confident you will be and the more fun you will have. I literally had zero stage fright once I was on stage. That’s actually pretty rare, even for me, and it’s because I was so well-prepared and clear about my vision and how I wanted people to see and remember me. If you have no “event promoter” in your being seen and heard, then ask yourself questions. What image do you want to portray? What positive qualities do you want people to remember you for? What words or phrases do you want people to know you by?
8. Go with the flow. In the middle of all this, 2 weeks before the show, I went to my friend’s Full Moon Fire Ceremony as usual, and had a vision of a womb healing water ceremony I was to do on that big stage. So I added that to my rehearsal and overall plan. I got the idea to bring out my healing medicine stick, which I NEVER bring out in public. I trust my intuition and ideas. Even that evolved into something else.
9. Connect Your Vision to Your New Reality. Something cool happened automatically once I was on stage. When I looked out at the audience and stood in front of the mic, I was able to connect my vision to the reality in front of me, because I truly had created this experience by doing all those rehearsals and some of those people I had imagined in front of me were there!
10. Get Your Passion On! Light yourself up! Do whatever it takes to have that kind of energy when you’re trying to be seen and heard. When you shrink away and are afraid of attention, or having the spotlight, you make yourself invisible. It’s the kind of magic you don’t want to be using. Your energy will hide you, or show you off in a way you DON’T want. But when you’re in your passion, people notice that in a really positive way.
11. If you really are speaking or singing on stage, go to my article about how to use a microphone. It will make you go from sounding like you have a terrible sound man to sounding like a professional.
A word about setbacks:
Setbacks are part of human life. Here’s what happened to me and how I still managed to do the show and be seen and heard how I want…
A few days before my show, I ripped a nice cut into my hand that holds the mic and my shaker. It still hurts and took a while to stop bleeding. Stuff came up around my son. Grief. Retraumatization yet relief when the police charged the 2nd alleged killer. Body pain hit me the day before the show. And on the day of the show, one of my legs went into a massive muscle spasm and none of the tricks I know for that worked to stop it. I couldn’t even put weight on the foot without incredible pain after that.
Here’s the thing. I have a musician’s mentality of “The show must go on!” Not to mention I hadn’t worked my ass off to sell over 60 tickets so I could get a prime time performance spot for nothing. So I bought more bandaids. I used cedarwood essential oil on my hand. I did more research. I called on my supporters and I asked for help, knowing there was a good chance I might not be able to walk without a cane and might even have to sit down on stage. I knew a lot of what I’d had planned might go down the drain with this pain.
Magically and thanks to the prayers and healing energy my supporters were sending me, and thanks to their help the night of the show, I pulled it off. An amazing show. Maybe my best ever. I was able to stand and even walk up and down stairs, which never happens after one of those charleyhorses. I did need some help on stage, which gave one of the women I’ve mentored an unexpected last minute no warning… chance to be seen on that stage too.
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About Brenda MacIntyre
Medicine Song Woman Brenda MacIntyre, author and artist of the Medicine Song Oracle Cards™ & Music, is a Juno Award-winning singer, motivational speaker, indigenous drummer and wisdom-keeper. Brenda has shared her leadership and soul nationally on stage and in the media, such as MuchMusic, APTN, CTV, CP24, Global and CityTV’s Breakfast Television, as well as CBC Radio. Having experienced major loss and fear of being seen and heard, she is passionate about helping women to bring out their playfulness, edge and inner rebel, so they can live a life brimming with self-authority and soul-satisfying expression.