There are so many people that dream of standing on stages and sharing their message as a full-time career. Now, I am not one to throw water on the flame but there are some things you will have to endure when this becomes your full-time career choose. The biggest thing that stands out is the fact that you have to be comfortable in the uncomfortable.
Let me explain!
Strange conversations, mishaps, and uncomfortable photo opportunities are just a few of the things that Speakers endure. The thing is, most Speakers never share this part of the journey. One of the reasons I started hosting the #SpeakEasy Podcast was to shed light on things just like these. I know that celebrities must have even more stories to share when it comes to the uncomfortable moments. Let’s start with something simple and go from there.
The uncomfortable conversation.
So often we have conversations or get strange compliments from people we hardly know. People will bare it all even though they barely know you. It can feel pretty awkward at times depending on the conversation that is being had. Oh, there is also the difficult conversation about money. I have heard stories of Speakers getting paid with a chicken dinner and soda because they didn’t have a conversation about fees upfront. Can’t forget the story about the event organizer driving off IMMEDIATELY after the Speaker was done with the money that they were supposed to pay the speaker. Oh, it gets real out here.
The uncomfortable picture.
There will be many times when you are asked to take a photo with attendees or other Speakers. The uncomfortable moments come when you don’t know how to pose or you have the weird fake smile moments. There are people who always wait until you are eating, talking, about to leave or trying to go to the restroom to ask for a photo. (Thankfully I have not had anyone ask while I was in the bathroom but they have been waiting patiently near the door. I would have to say that the person who just came out the bathroom makes for a very VERY uncomfortable picture. lol
The uncomfortable pause.
As a Speaker, we often use a pause for dramatic effect. It allows us to catch our breath and gives the audience a moment to think about what you just said. What happens when you forget what you are supposed to be saying next. I have seen Speakers, especially those reading from a paper, completely forget where they were. Then they spend time trying to scan their note cards to get back on track. It makes for an awkward moment while all eyes are on you. What can make this moment even worse is when you drop the cards on the floor. (Yes I have seen people do this one too) So what is worse…….dropping your index cards or dropping the soap? lol
The uncomfortable twin moment.
We see it all the times when celebrities are seen showing up in the same dress but how much more odd would it be if they had the same thank you speech? Yes, I have seen Speakers come to an event prepped and ready to go only to hear someone speaking on the same exact topic. Now yes, there are ways to talk about the same topic without it being weird but means having the skill to redevelop your speech on the go. That is not a skill that all Speakers possess and it makes for an interesting scenario as they fight to find key points that were not already discussed.
Still not convinced?
Let’s finish this out by talking about the uncomfortable blank stare.
You stand on stage as you present and give your all only to have blank stares meeting your gaze. The content isn’t connecting with your audience the way you intended. Do you tell a joke to give yourself time to untighten the knot in your stomach or do you just freeze? I have seen some nervously fumble with their papers while others or fidget with the microphone cord.
We have to learn to push through and gain control of the moment. Understand that it is okay to say that we feel uncomfortable or that we can’t take a picture at the moment. There will be boundaries that we need to set for our own sanity and the integrity of our Speaking career. That is one way we stomp out those uncomfortable moments before they even happen. The other part that helps is when we accept that things happen and become comfortable in going off script at times. Hey, we may have to throw the whole script away in order to connect with our audience. Remember to map out what the success of this event will look like and feel like for you. Then you work hard to make that happen.
Listen to how some other Speakers handle the blunders and mishaps on the #SpeakEasy Podcast
bit.ly/speakeasypodcastshow (I would love for you to leave a review)