Welcome to your SWEET Success Soundbyte for October 28th, 2014: How to Be HOT on Stage (even when you’re secretly freaking out!).
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I’m completely adlibbing this (recording). I was just in Vancouver, speaking there at a conference – really excited about it – called Passion to Profit, and I had this really great idea.
TIP: Do something totally unexpected by your audience that is uniquely YOU.
Do something signature that really highlights YOU at the core essence level.
The organizers planned to send the speakers up to the stage with a song right after they were introduced, so I thought that was cool and I thought it would be even cooler if I did that to one of my own songs, because of course I sing so that makes sense for me. So before I came up on stage I was singing my own song. I set myself up so that when they were introducing me I was outside the door because my song that I played was One Door Opens. So as soon as they introduce me, I literally walked through the doorway. (One of the lyrics I sang was “stepping through the doorway, walking through the fear”).
Nobody expected it because nobody was singing at this conference. It was just speaking and business teachings. So it blew people out of the water. I could see it on their faces… they were almost in shock. This was something very unexpected and unusual, really highlighting my essence, which is that I’m Medicine Song Woman, so people were really feeling it even before I got to the stage.
So… What About When You’re Secretly Freaking Out?
One of my technical difficulties was that the sound system just died. Nothing was coming out of the speakers for the audience. So I just adlibbed and kept going. It only took them a few seconds, less than a minute I think, to get my mic back and there we were.
So that’s technical difficulty #1… and #2 is my cat walking by making noise as I record this. 😉 So the sound system stopping was easy for me because I’ve done lots of speaking gigs and you’ve just got to know that when you’re speaking, it’s common for issues with the sound system to happen.
So the next technical difficulty – and this is when I was freaking out inside and going OMG what am I going to do here – was… I am NOT a PowerPoint girl. I’ve done it once and that’s it. I had my assistant create this very beautiful powerpoint presentation but then they added a slide to it and it threw me off with my timing, so I was screwed. I was trying to figure out, minutes before getting on stage, what am I going to get them to delete out of my presentation.. and then the slide that was deleted was not the one I needed deleted. The slides had cues for me so that without a script, I would know what I was talking about. So I was completely off. That was my little moment of panic.
I was like “What am I going to do???”
So what I did was, I really just owned that I channel when I’m on stage and that’s the way it is. So sure, I’m an accomplished energy and information channel. You don’t have to be a channel, though it certainly helps, because it’s about going with the flow. When something like that happens, there are things you can do: ask for a flipchart, wait and try to fix the powerpoint… but I just kept going.
BIG KEY: I took a breath. If you feel like you’re panicking on stage or anywhere, take a breath, let it out, and give yourself time to pause. Even if you feel the pressure of having to deliver to the audience, that little 30 second pause helped me make my own sense of what was going to come next and what I was going to deliver.
I just started talking, sharing my story. People want to hear your story – it’s inspiring for them. And I kept on going with the flow. I used the slides. They got their activities and it all worked out.
I honestly was clutching my little tiny cheat sheet the whole time…
I had practiced lots, timing it, and went from a 3 page Word document down to just one little notepad sheet from the hotel. But I didn’t even look at that.
TIP: Let your heart and soul lead you with what to say.
If you go up in your head, you’re not going to know what to say. You’d think that’s where you’d need to go but it isn’t. Go into your heart and soul and then what you need to say is going to come out.
Bring out your inner leader, have fun, be playful and don’t forget this isn’t about you. It’s about giving value to your audience through being real.
Give them an experience.
TIP: Have a couple of interactive exercises and takeaways in your back pocket, engrained in your memory, so if there are technical difficulties or you just get thrown off, you can pull those out in any talk you do.
Own the stage from the moment you walk towards it. If I had walked tentatively onto stage, that would’ve sucked. People would’ve felt embarrassed for me. I have to own the stage.
One of the keys there is to get on stage before the event even happens. Then you can get familiar with the stage.
Always make friends with the sound person. This made it possible for me to get a recording of this – which I’ll be making available to you soon!
It’s really important to just be YOU and be a leader and own the stage. It’s a feeling when you’re walking up there of owning it.
TIP: Do a sound check even if you don’t need one because that gives you the opportunity to get on stage before everybody else is there.
I hope this helps you to feel like you’re HOT on stage, because this is what it takes and this is what’s in the background.
Nobody’s going to remember the technical difficulties. Nobody’s going to remember the powerpoint slides being out of order. What they remember is my entrance onto stage and how I made them feel in the exercises they did. I had a couple of people say that my presentation was their favourite part of the entire event, and that’s why, because I gave them an experience from my core essence and I was being real.
Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman