Ep. 122

The Strategy Behind Speaking at Conferences with Laylee Emadi with Laylee Emadi

Welcome to another episode of Interact’s Grow Podcast, where we share insights and strategies to help you scale your business. Today, we’re thrilled to have Laylee Emadi, a coach for speakers and educators in the creative industry, with us to delve into the strategy behind speaking at conferences.

In this episode, Laylee shares her unique perspective on the importance of effective communication for entrepreneurs, the potential of speaking engagements, and how to navigate the journey from novice to seasoned speaker. She provides practical tips on how to get started, how to gauge if speaking is working for your business, and how to feel at home on the stage. Tune in to learn how to take your business to the next level with confidence and effective communication!

Learn more about Laylee and the Creative Educators Conference.

Hi guys. And welcome back to Interact’s Grow podcast. So great to be with you all. As always, I’m your host Jessmyn Solana. We have Damaris and Jesy with us today, but we do have a special guest Laylee Emadi. Laylee, welcome to our podcast. Thank you so much for having me. So excited because I spoke on your podcast a very long time ago.

And I think I was trying to have you on for creator stories. I feel like we never got around to recording it. So this is like very monumental for me right now to finally have you on here. But for those of you who don’t know, lately, she is a coach for speakers and educators. And we actually just sponsored her creative educator conference that happened last month.

And you are having another one next year. So everybody look out for that sign up if you’re interested. It was such a great experience, even as a sponsor, I feel like we learned a lot to just by like sitting there. I love that. I have like so many screenshots of just like things that I’ve learned and I’m like, this is, this is great.

This is gold. Amazing. And if you watch our video, I’m also, I also have the cup with me. So we are here. wEll today, lately, we wanted to pick your brain and kind of give our audience an idea of like, how do you profit or scale your business from speaking at conferences? So really jumping into that, but do you want to quickly.

Formally introduce yourself, give a little bit of background of like what you do as a coach, who your customers usually are and all that good stuff. Yeah. Well, first of all, I’m so excited to be here. And like you said, I feel like we’ve been back and forth so much to get me on the show in some capacity, so I’m glad it finally worked out.

But yeah, so I have been a speaker for. Many years now I’ve been in the entrepreneurial space for over a decade, which is kind of crazy. But before that I was a high school teacher and curriculum designer for our district. And so my career has really taken in the creative space, a really full circle.

Kind of path where I started out. You know, with my creative side hustle that then became full time and then teaching kind of crept back in and speaking and being a huge part of that as well. And now being able to coach speakers and educators and host the conference that does the same thing for them.

It’s just been a really beautiful, like full circle experience. And so, yeah, that’s a little bit about what I do and the really, really short 30 second bio of why I do it. But I’ve just, education’s always been something I’ve been really passionate about. And I always say like. I always knew I’d be a teacher forever.

I just didn’t know that I would go from teaching kids and high schoolers to teaching grownups, which is fun. Also, anybody else, if you guys have questions, feel free to interrupt and ask because we actually have not, I think, touched on this topic yet before. So this will be super interesting for us and for our listeners.

But I think first and foremost, like what I would love to know is like, As somebody who’s an entrepreneur, you’re maybe also well, maybe let me ask this first is speaking for everybody, or is it only for people who want to educate and coach? So I have like a, that’s a great question. I have kind of like a two part answer.

One. There is, I do believe that everybody who is in the entrepreneurial space needs to be able to speak in some capacity. So I, so the answer is yes, in that sense, but no, I don’t think being on a stage is meant for everybody and I don’t think it’s a necessity for everybody. But I do think that with the way that people are marketing and growing their businesses online and using their personal brand more and more using more video, whether it’s, Be short form behind the scenes, long form, whatever you want to do your face and your voice are front and center.

And so to be able to communicate clearly and effectively, I think is really, really important for any, anybody who wants to grow their business and market it well, so in that respect, yes. Speaking is for everybody, but if you’re talking about traditional, getting on stage, delivering a keynote going to conferences and traveling to speak, I think that that could be for people who want to educate, or it could be for people who want to empower people who want to share their story and inspire.

There’s so many reasons to speak, but I don’t think that it has to be part of everybody’s business plan or lifestyle at all. I like that a lot because I think in marketing specifically, especially if you’re a solopreneur, every time you get advice from someone, it’s always like, you have to do this in your business.

You have to implement is the only way you’re going to get money. But like, you know, in reality, it’s more about trying different things. Like, yeah, you could try it, but also knowing when it’s not for you. Absolutely. I also really like how you compared like, that it is like, if you’re an entrepreneur, like, you know, even if you’re making reels, but when you’re just starting out, like, even making a short tick tock or a real can feel like getting on a stage and speaking and, you know, giving a keynote, like, even just that 1st step can be so like monumental for someone and then to even think that they can take it to this next level where they are speaking at a conference.

It’s just, Such a big leap that I’m sure for a lot of people in their minds. Like, how can we close the gap? Like, how can we get to that next point? So if let’s say you’re like, okay, I want to try this out. When is a good time to start implementing? You know, I don’t know how to phrase this question, but like, yeah, like, where do you get started?

Where do you, where do you go when you’re like, okay, I think this is something that I want to do in my business. Yeah, I think if you want to get started as a speaker I always say speak where you can, when you can. So especially for if you’re just getting started, kind of like Jesy said, even TikToks, even Instagram reels, YouTube virtually speaking, there are so many summits out there right now.

And it’s actually, it’s, It’s become really interesting to watch. I hosted, I hosted a summit in 2020, obviously virtual summit in 2020. And it was, that was kind of the beginnings of what is now just become like a rinse and repeat process for many people. I only did it that one time, but a lot of people will host these summits over and over again with like.

10, 20, 40 speakers. And it’s interesting because within the creative entrepreneurial space, most of these are unpaid opportunities. So what we’re starting to see is that a lot of seasoned speakers are saying no to many of these summits. And so there is like this opportunity for more novice speakers to come in and get their feet wet and really try things out and get some practice under their belt if they’re willing to speak for free.

And a virtual event is so nice because it’s such a low lift for someone who’s trying something for the first time. So. If you want to go beyond your own channels and start getting in front of people and getting some practice in virtual summits, virtual speaking, speaking within other people’s community groups you know, partnering with, with people who maybe want some education, but don’t have the budget to, to bring in like a really established speaker.

Those are all great, great ways to get started. And then I always say, if you can find a great speaking coach, Obviously I’m saying that as a speaking coach, but I have my own coach as well. Like I invest in my own coach as a speaker, because getting somebody to give you honest feedback is really hard as a speaker, your friends, your peers.

They’re going to say great job. You did such a good job, no matter what you do, because it’s, it is. terrifying to speak for the first few times and they don’t want to like hurt your feelings. So if you can find maybe an impartial person to give you some feedback, those are all great places to start. Start for free, start locally.

If you want to do in person, there’s so many local organizations you could look into that would love a speaker who is either lower priced or, or volunteering their time. But just start putting yourself out there as much as you can. And then from there, then you start building the actual business behind it.

How do you know if it’s working? Like if the, if, if it’s working for your business or if it’s working for like, if you’re meant for it. Ooh, both. I was going more towards like how it’s working for your business, but yeah, actually like Yeah, both. Yeah, I think, I think one, the answer is probably the same.

Honestly, I don’t even know why I asked the clarifier, but having people’s responses and being really cognizant of how people are responding to what you’re putting out is, is one really important. How you know it’s meant for you, I think is actually maybe not the same. I, I feel like it’s based off of how you feel afterward and not just like the high, everybody has that adrenaline high, right?

So like, they always say people are, you know, public speaking is one of the top fears of, of most human beings. But I don’t know if that’s changing with social media. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s like going away or getting better, but I do think that Everybody gets the adrenaline and then they feel great afterwards because you did it and it’s over and you accomplish it, but it’s more so how do you feel in the moment?

Like, are you comfortable? Do you feel exhilarated? Do you feel like this is something that is just, um, for lack of a better word, like, is it meant for you? Do you feel like, okay, I feel very at home in this, in this whole experience, or do I feel like this is so foreign and I’ll never get used to it?

Some of it is practice, but some of it’s inherently like. You’ll know if, if you want to continue to pursue it, knowing if it works for your business. I mean, like I said, a lot of it is response. A lot of it is request for other people to, to work with you, referrals. You’ll start seeing those things coming and you’ll start seeing and hearing your name mentioned in rooms.

And then somebody will reach out to you and say, you know, I heard you did a great job on X, Y, and Z. And if those things aren’t happening, it doesn’t mean it’s not working, but it’s a real sign that it is working if you start to hear your name mentioned across the room, you know? Yeah. Oh, I was going to ask something, but Jesmyn, I don’t know if you want to go ahead.

Well, I was going to, I was just going to follow up on what you said of like, is that usually the goal you want? Like you want the recognition or the awareness. It’s not necessarily like immediate sales, right? Like you’re not always going to be like, sign up for my course right here and now. And see that immediate like sale right there.

Yeah. I feel like visibility is probably like my top recommendation of what to seek out, especially when you’re just getting started. But, but generally speaking, you’re never going to be one. You’re never going to be in a lot of positions to pitch from the stage. In fact, I even recommend that when you’re allowed to pitch from the stage, you don’t do a hard pitch.

I think it’s better to create visibility, to create that know, like, and trust with the audience, get them invested in you. Oh my God. And she’ll start screaming and It’s an animal guys, a cat, not a human. I know it’s a kitten. Everyone, the kitten in my lap. Yeah, but just kind of developing that rapport with the audience, I think is like one of the best things you can seek out versus pitching your actual services.

I will say I have never, I can confidently say I’ve never done a speaking engagement that hasn’t resulted in some type of sales afterward. Yeah, you know, and it’s funny you say that because I remember when we were at your conference, you actually didn’t want to pitch at the end of the conference. I remember that you were so you were so I don’t want to say shy.

Maybe you were you, you just felt like, okay, I don’t really want to sound like I’m pitching to you guys, but this is like a great opportunity for next year. And it just, it really came out very genuine and it really felt like, okay, she really doesn’t want to do this, but let’s just like, you know, and it’s, you can just totally tell, like it, you can tell the difference when it’s genuine and when it’s not, you know?

So, yeah, yeah. And actually it’s funny. I got like, I got a little bit of, and this happens every time I always get flack for not being able to like do a strong pitch and I always respond with like, it’s not that I can’t do it. It’s that I truly don’t want to do it. Like I want. People I want to give them the information and then they can do with it what they want, but I, like, I’m the kind of person where I’m like, especially in that situation of the conference, like, that experience should have sold itself.

And it was great, but yeah, but I really did not want to do that.

wEll, I have a question and it’s more like. I guess it’s similar to what we’re talking about, but a little bit differently at the same time, we had some marketing predictions at the end of last year of what we were going to see this year. And one of them was we were going to start seeing more like face to face sort of networking.

Events, whether it’s conferences or like an actual, like, Hey, let’s get together. And it’s like a networking event sort of scenario. Do you feel like, I guess it’s two questions, sorry. It’s, do you feel like one that’s like. Really coming up more often now in this, in this environment now that we’re like past COVID a little bit and if so, like what’s really the differences now between like doing virtual events versus like face to face events.

Yeah, I mean, just from an observational standpoint, I do think that events are having like their comeback moment. Like this is their time to shine. And I, it’s interesting. Probably a shorter break than most during like having in person things because I had retreats that I had to postpone during the pandemic that I had to then obviously reschedule and host.

And I have a lot of clients who I coach in education who are, you know, in the wedding industry or whatever. And, and as events were starting to come back really strong last year, I noticed that, okay, our industry is now. Also coming up with that, like the creative industry in general is coming up with more and more conferences, more and more retreats.

And I’m not seeing a decline in the amount of virtual events that are being hosted, but just observationally. I am seeing a decline in how invested people are in virtual events. Like I’m not seeing people pull out their wallet quite as fast for something that’s virtual or even carve out the time that they might have carved out previously.

Like they might sign up for it and not actually tune in or they might pick and choose and be just a little bit more you know, selective about what it is in the virtual events that they’re actually paying attention to. Whereas I do think people are going all in. On in person much more than they did even pre pandemic, in my opinion.

Yeah, that’s interesting. I’m curious. Do you feel that, that like there’s way more power behind in person events versus virtual? Cause just in my head, even I feel like when it comes to virtual ones, I would pick and choose what I’m going to attend. You know, I would pick and choose, you know, is it an expensive virtual event?

Like how much am I going to pay attention to it versus a live event and you’re. Bringing like more upfront costs. So you kind of like you’re a bit more invested in it. Do you feel like like live events perform better on average? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think you’re completely spot on and not like it’s, it’s so much more immersive and I have seen virtual events done well where they, they are more immersive.

Like I’ve seen. A higher level virtual event where they’ll maybe send like send something in the mail like a kit that like you get to unbox and you get to have like everybody has cameras on and everybody who is there is really invested and has to carve out the time. But those are few and far between, you know, like, I’ve, I’ve maybe seen those examples are like.

One off like I’ve seen one of it and one of that and I’m like if I were ever to do it again That’s how I would want to do it But I do think and especially for accessibility and for things like that virtual is amazing So I don’t want to discredit that because I do think that so many people still can’t travel and still are being really cautious In general or maybe they just don’t have the finances to do so so I do think the accessibility is wonderful, but I think that if you’re just comparing them on a You know bird’s eye view like In person is so much more immersive and you get.

So connected so quickly, I’ll even use the example of like the ladies that came from Interact. I’ve, I’ve talked to you guys for years now, it just business to bit, but like there’s something so different than like sitting in the lobby with a drink and having a chat and becoming, you know, connected and building a relationship and a friendship versus.

Emails and quick zoom calls, you know, so I just think that that trans translates so well into events as well. Like people just go a hundred percent in versus. You know, like 40%. That kind of makes me realize that we are a fully virtual team at interact. But the first thing that happens when we hire someone is that we make sure we get to meet them in person, if it’s possible, whoever’s closest to them, we fly out or we meet for lunch and everything.

And I think that makes a huge difference for us too. I love that. That’s such a great way to incorporate that face to face. Like when you are a hundred percent virtual. Yeah. Super important. It’s so different versus like, I think it’s really different virtual versus even recording podcasts. Like if we were sitting all in person together right now in a coffee shop recording this, it would hit differently than via recording.

That is very true. That’s very true. And it’s interesting because even when we were at your conference in January, it felt like we really got to. Meet people not only in their business aspect, but just like their journey, like where they started, how long they’ve been doing it for what they’re currently doing.

And, and through that, yes, they would come to our booth and be like, Oh, teach me about quizzes. Right. But of course that was just part of our role, but it was also like, Oh, well, how are you doing? And you know, how’s everything with, with your business and what are you trying to do? And it was just a more.

Organic conversation versus like, it didn’t feel as structured as, you know, maybe like, well, we’re not very structured in this right now because we’re just asking you questions, but, you know, it’s a different setting for sure. It’s definitely more personable. I do want to ask in terms of, cause I remember at your conference, you had like different types of speaking engagements that people could do.

Like, there was the, is it called lightning rounds? Is that what you called it? I called them lightning talks, but. Lightning talks. Yeah, yeah. Like lightning talks where it was like. What was it? Like, maybe like 5 minutes. A quick 5 minutes. There was, you had like panels, like Q and a panels and then you had like the full session where they had like a whole presentation set for that time.

If you’re thinking about, you know. Speaking at a conference, like what, at what level would each of these engagements like require, I guess, like at your state, at your stage in your business. Did that make sense? Yeah. Like at what level would it like, what, where should you be for each one kind of thing?

Yeah. Like if you’re like coming to a conference and you’re like, Oh, I have these options where like, I get a super quick time or like I get a whole session, obviously like you’re an expert in your field, you know, your material, but like, do you go straight? For that full presentation, or do you take more advantage of the lightning talk?

Okay. I love this. Yeah, I totally get it. So it’s interesting. So, at my conference in particular, the lightning talks are actually paid position. So, like, they pay to do those lightning talks and it’s, it’s not, you don’t like, they have to get their topic cleared, but it is because it is the creative educator conference.

They get feedback, they get B roll and they get images and they get like my critique at the end of it. So it’s a critique talk versus like a selected position. Yeah. And so that’s something that’s very unique to my conference that I pulled from my time teaching, but I actually like other places that do like pay to play or pay to speak.

I’m just gonna, I mean, nobody asked me this, but I’m just going to put my two cents out there. I’m not a fan. Like, I don’t like that. I don’t like that at all. Like none of my speakers paid to be there. This was like a learning opportunity. So I just want to be really clear about that in case anybody’s listening to this and they’re like, Oh, like I have to pay to do this.

And it’s like, well, a lot of people these days are trying to get people to pay, but. I would maybe not do that. Oh, gosh, my kitten just walked over the keyboard. I hope she has. She has her own two cents that she wants to listen to me right now. Yeah, but in terms of like general conferences, if we’re going with like the the typical conference layout, you usually will have something like a breakout that is more classroom style.

And then you might have shorter shorter main stage sessions that are like the quick, I wouldn’t say most things aren’t like five minutes and maybe like 10, 15 and then you’ll have your like main keynotes. So those are, you know, anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes. And those are like the headliners, right?

So those are like the, the top people and not top people in any hierarchy, but like, those are the people that are headlining the conference typically they’re like the big sessions that are going to be like the meat of, of that event. So There is, before I answer this real question in the way that I want to answer it, I just want to put the disclaimer that like, there’s no, in my opinion, there’s no like right or wrong way.

I really believe that like you need to think about what kind of speaking and what kind of stage suits your personality. So a lot of people will tell you like, Oh, you should start with breakouts because they’re less pressure or you don’t have to step on the main stage right away. I would, I would pose the argument that.

Not everybody enjoys teaching classroom style, breakout style. Not everybody enjoys doing like having interaction with like a smaller group, some people really do want to just deliver their message from the stage, inspire, motivate, educate, whatever, and then leave. So I think it just depends on where you’re at, but I, I mean, I have, I have obviously.

Typically, people will want you to have some sort of experience before you get on the main stage in whatever respect that is. But a lot of people will say, you know, start, start with the breakout and then you’ll get the main stage the next year or whatever. You could take that either way. I feel like there’s not like a, like a true answer to that, the way that, the way that people present it sometimes.

Don’t worry, because every answer we, like, answer for a question is always, it depends. It depends. It so does depend. Thank you. Yes. And I just like, I hate when I hear, I hate when I hear people like create this roadmap where I’m like, maybe they don’t want to do that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I agree with that because there’s some people who like the first time they I think they speak in front of people or stand up.

I’m like, Oh my goodness. Like you were built for this. And you know, they haven’t done a breakout. They haven’t done anything else. They just got up there and I’m like, wow, like. You know, so they, they could just jump straight to that point. But did you feel that way coming from teaching high schoolers, which I imagine is incredibly hard?

I mean, it’s immersive. It’s also like you have to keep their attention. Like did that, did you, once you started like speaking at events for yourself, did you feel like, Oh yeah, like this is easy. I was meant for this. I mean, honestly, it’s one of those things. I used to say it in the beginning of my speaking more so, but I would be like, If I could get in front of hundreds of high school age students and survive, like this is a breeze people are choosing to come here to listen.

Okay. I’m, I’m fine. But I actually, interestingly enough, I loved breakouts when I, when I was, and I still do. I honestly, I think I prefer a breakout to a keynote because I, because of that classroom style teaching. Yeah. It just, to me, I like to be able to kind of break things down and make sure everybody’s tracking and like touch base with everybody in the room.

But I do love a keynote too. And then I think that is a lot of it is probably the training of, of working with a sassy little. 16 to 18 year old. They’re scary. I know I was in high school once. I don’t know if I was that scary, but they are scary. Yeah. I mean, I still work with high school. I still go and work with the high schools a few times a year.

And they are not less scary now. They’re still scary. They’re worse, probably. Yeah. It’s funny because when I think about, like, and it’s so unique that you, Have this teaching background because it does give you an advantage, I think, and being able to like, adapt to different styles and personalities and being able to just like really be a great observant because I mean, teenagers are like.

They’re like emotions running around wild all the time, you know and it’s, it’s so interesting because even hearing you speak, you sound so eloquent, like you would never think that like, Oh, Lillie is like nervous speaking out loud and, and you know, she seems so you seem so organized and so like personable, like it’s, it’s not easy to do that all day, all day long.

It’s really not, you know, and it’s, it’s, it’s really amazing. Yeah, no, I love that you guys called that out because my question was like what in your experience, like what are some of the imposter syndrome sort of like messages you’ve heard people tell themselves and how can they overcome that?

Maybe give us like your top three. Yeah. I think one is like the very top one is probably like the definition of imposter syndrome, which is like, who am I to do this? Who am I to get on this stage? Like, nobody wants to learn from me. I don’t know enough. I’m not good enough. I’m not, I’m not thin enough.

I’m not fit enough. I’m not young enough. I’m not old enough. Like the, the stories we tell ourselves are insane. And I think obviously they’re all deep rooted into like our childhoods and our adolescence and how we’ve been, you know, how we’ve identified ourselves over the years. And I would just say the biggest thing in terms of overcoming that is.

And I, I, I hate to say this, but I, I will always say it is you have to do it anyway. I mean, no matter, no matter how many of those feelings that you come up against, do it anyway. If you want to try, you need to just get up there and do it scared. And I say that having said all of those sentences to myself, like my imposter syndrome is not gone and I don’t think it’s something that will ever go away, but I have 100 percent confidence has built up over the past decade.

Whereas Okay. When I, I feel, if I feel like insecure now, I can overcome it a lot faster than I could before. And that’s just a matter of practice, I think. So one is do it anyway. Two is the more you practice, the more you practice, the less terrifying it gets. And I think three is just understanding that our feelings are not facts.

And We can feel so many ways about ourselves, but the fact of the matter is you may have something that will help somebody in that audience. And so I think recognizing that and being able to kind of remove your feelings from the situation and only focus on the factual information that like, I have this knowledge, somebody in the audience needs that knowledge.

And so now it’s my job to just show up and communicate it to them in the best way that I can. I love that. I love that. Our feelings are not facts. That’s like a hard pill to swallow for some reason, but like, I’m like, wow, it’s true. Just because I told myself that I shouldn’t be up here. I shouldn’t be speaking about this because I feel this way.

Like that isn’t a fact. That’s just what I’m perceiving and how I’m feeling. Yeah. That kind of prompted a question for me, which is. It’s interesting because as you say, sometimes you go up, you have these speaking engagements or even if it’s like the lightning talks, right? Like how does a speaker measure success?

Like how did, how are they like, okay, this, this was good, whether it’s like business or like. Themselves should they be setting themselves like micro goals before they go on stage or should they just be like, all right, I’m just gonna wing it and see how I feel afterwards. Like, I guess what are like some small steps where you can a speaker can feel.

Okay. This was a good. Good experience or no, this was just like terrible experience. I never want to do this again. Yeah, I think a couple of things. 1 is you want to make sure that you’re preparing as much as possible in advance so that you can set those. I like that. I like that term micro goals. Like, when I’m writing a talk or prepping for.

For a presentation or a talk, I have it. I have it all written out and I know I’m not going to say it verbatim. I’m not going to say it word for word, but I know that there are touch points that I want to make sure I’m delivering well. And so I think just having that preparation beforehand sets you up for understanding if you did well, or if you didn’t, like, if it was working or if it wasn’t Obviously audience response did a joke land or did it fall flat and wasn’t really awkward and like, could you pivot from that?

And if you couldn’t, if you couldn’t adapt, like you talked about, about like when I was teaching, it did teach me to adapt and to like change lanes really quickly. And I think that’s something that a lot of speakers need to be able to do, but struggle. Cause it’s like a learned skill of. Okay, they didn’t laugh like what’s the best approach to make this like to salvage this for me.

It’s like self deprecation for it’s not like that for everybody where I’m like, okay, that didn’t work. You know what I mean? And it’s just kind of funny. We can all laugh at me together. But for other speakers, it’s not so being aware of what works based off of like the response and the even like, Okay.

This sounds a little woo, but like the vibe you’re getting back from the audience, like, are they with you? Like, are they vibing? Are they like, for example, creative educator conference this past year, like a month ago, quietest audience ever. But when you’re on the stage, they are locked in. I mean, there, I, I have never been so focused on in my, like on any stage.

It was very, it was kind of intimidating. I was like, they are really into like looking and Whereas the year before it was like, I felt like a high school teacher again, being like, come back, stop talking, like calm down, you know, it was like wild. And the audience was like vibing in a different way. So being, being aware.

And then the second, the second thing I would say is you really have to work on your self awareness as a speaker. Cause if you don’t have a coach there to watch you and you don’t have a recording to send to a coach, only you can say like, that was actually not bad. Or like that felt really bad. So if you can get anything recorded and watch it back and be self aware or have somebody else watch it for you I think that’s really helpful because we are our harshest critics as well so sometimes I’ll go on stage and I’m like that was rough and Of course my friends and family are like that was amazing And then I find my trusted person who will tell it like it is and they’re like there were spots.

It was great. It was Not great. Not your best, you know, so a little bit of all of it Mm. That’s great. I love that. When you’re receiving feedback from like a trusted person or like your coach, like at what point are these skills you can actually improve on? Or like, at what point is it more of just like, you need to work on your confidence or you need to you know, like what, when is it more like concrete versus like, I guess.

Like your, your vibe, right. Or like your personality or like the confidence and the delivery. Yeah, that’s, oh, that’s such a good question. I feel like when I hear that, I think there’s nothing that’s not a learned skill when it comes to speaking. Even if it’s personality delivery you might have to get a new personality for the stage.

Like that sounds harsh, but like, it’s almost like, it’s like Beyonce and Sasha Fierce, right? Like, it’s like, what is your alter ego? How can you channel that alter ego? Because your current personality is not landing for some reason. Now I will say like, as a speaking coach. I don’t have a lot of clients and, and, you know, coaching students that I have to, I don’t think I’ve ever actually had to do that with them.

Sometimes I’m like, you’ve got to be a lot more confident. Let’s work on that. And like I said, that is, I, I view confidence as a skill more than anything, because it’s something that does require unlearning. Of whatever it is that got you insecure, maybe a little therapy, maybe, you know, like there’s a lot you can do to build that up, but you know, it, it does take time and then, and then as far as like the other skills, like it, all of them can be learned.

I just, I just don’t think that there’s anything that’s beyond fixing when it comes to being a great speaker. If you’re willing to put in the work and the time now, if it’s worth it to put in the work and the time for that person, like hard to say. Yeah. Like one of those, it depends answers. Yeah. Well, yeah.

Like it would depend on like your comfortability, like your budget, like where your business is at. Like what are your goals? If you actually want to speak, you know, like what, what’s that reason? No, I think that’s like a super good answer because I think, I mean, even in terms of like, I love that you said that, like, sometimes it is a personality thing because I don’t know.

Cool. Cool. How you all feel about this, but every time I talk about podcasting, like you’re, I call it like you’re on, like, you have to be on and then we hit, we stop recording and I’m like, Oh, I can breathe. Yeah, that’s so true. Yeah. You know, it’s, it’s funny you say about like the, the confidence thing, because.

We have a new team member at Interact and we were like, Oh my God, she’s going to be great at video, like knowing, just seeing it. No, just, it was something about her personality that you were like, this is going to be great. She’s gonna like be great at video versus like me. I’m very self aware. I think I would be very self critical about.

Myself going on video and I would like literally freeze. I’ll just be like, I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. This has to be turned off. But it’s in podcasting is different. Like if this, it feels like very conversational, it feels like I can have a, you know, it doesn’t feel like I’m on video, even though I am on video, it is so weird how these different personalities or maybe stages or, or however we want to call them.

Really, you can have like different stages and you’re, you’re going to be fine. It’s just really just adapting to what like you’re comfortable with and what you, where you feel you can thrive in. I think being self aware of that, I think is also could be important. I don’t know if you guys agree or not, but yeah, I’m curious lately, who is a speaker that you like admire or you’re like, wow, she rocks it or he rocks it every time on stage.

And like, what are some things that you love? That like speakers, do you like, do you like it when they crack jokes? Do you like it? Like, I don’t know who’s someone you’re like, they’re really good. And I should be more prepared for this question for what I do. There’s so many. And I feel like it’s interesting because I watch so many, it depends.

I watch so many speakers for my job to be able to like learn from them and see, you know, what is it that I like, what is that thing that they have? So across industries, there are so many. So many different speakers that I admire. And I’m trying to think like specifically in like the creative industry, where maybe people can like access easier, obviously like people like Brené Brown, who are amazing authors and thought leaders.

And when they get on stage, they’re just very comfortable. She did a Netflix, they did a Netflix special with her. And like, if you just watch the way she speaks, it’s just very natural to her. And she doesn’t. I guess I’ll, I’ll answer this with more of like, what is it that I admire about people? It’s not that if they crack jokes or make you cry, it’s like whatever they’re doing is a hundred percent organic to who they are at their core, like the speakers who don’t try to fit the mold of what they’ve seen successful speakers do.

Are the ones that I love to listen to. So whether that’s somebody who’s a really emotive and like, just very like moving, emotional speaker, I am not that I am not that person. Like I am a, I’m a person that likes to crack jokes and I like to be really more educational and fact based driven and like data driven.

And that’s how I kind of present is I present like a teacher, like I talk like a teacher. I teach like a teacher, so I’ll never. Not never say never I have in the past given a few kind of more motivational Talks that talked about things that are really personal to me that have been more emotional But typically speaking, I’m not gonna do that, right?

Cuz that’s like it’s a part of my personality, but it’s not the part that I’m at the core of me the most Like every day, I’m not going around It’s like spouting poetry, you know, but I am being silly and cracking jokes and making people laugh. And like, that’s something that’s true to me, but vice versa, if there is a beautifully emotional poetic person and they’re sitting there like cutting up some dry jokes that don’t work.

I don’t like that either. So it’s just kind of like the speakers I admire the most, I think are the ones that are just a hundred percent true to themselves and they don’t, they don’t try to copy paste what they see worked for them. You know? Yeah. Wow. That makes it really hard to become a good speaker.

Cause it’s like, just do you like do what’s be yourself. And you’re like, Oh, okay. That’s it. Yeah. No, but I think once people realize that they’re like, Oh, that’s why it wasn’t working. Like, that’s why when I got on stage, I didn’t get the same response that somebody else did. And that’s also really hard.

It’s hard to find speaking, speaking coaches who I think at least in the creative industry, it was hard for me to find one that wasn’t just going to try to get me to speak like them. Like I needed someone, it’s almost like fashion, right? Like don’t dress me like you dress me like the best version of me.

Yeah. That’s a great example. You should. The thing this is recorded um, I don’t know if this will be tough to answer then, but like, if for, for those who are listening and maybe they’re thinking about getting started or, you know, they have a speaking engagement coming up. They were like, well, it’s tomorrow.

And I didn’t get a coach. Like what would you, is there like a starting formula that they could use to, you know, get up there, start speaking? That you would recommend without like having to hop on a call and have somebody, you know, kind of critique them right then and there. Yeah, okay. So, first of all, like, if you have a speaking engagement tomorrow and you haven’t prepped for it, I don’t know what to tell you.

Fail. Leave. Yeah. You have bigger problems today, okay? No, I’m just kidding. I, I honestly, like, first thing is, I, I would never say, just try really hard not to wing it. I think a lot of people use that as kind of a, kind of a cop out of like, I do better on the fly. Like, I do better unrehearsed. And it’s like, no, the most.

Natural thing could be the most rehearsed thing. You’ve got to know what you’re going to say. So I, I’d say that’s first and foremost is even if it’s tomorrow, you need to write out your talk, you need to write it out, practice it, read it through, make sure that things are actually translating into what you want the audience to walk away with.

And if you can’t get a coach to critique you, get a friend to listen, you know, like just talk, even talking them through the outline. Still to this day, even though I have a professional coach, I still have my husband listen in because he’s also like, I think of them, I think of the difference between like a coach and, and just somebody you’re trying out your material on is like the coach is going to look at everything.

The person you’re, you’re testing the actual content on is going to react like a listener who’s hearing it for the first time. And if they’re not understanding it, you want to make sure that you’re addressing that. So I think there’s a lot of things that you can do even without coaches present. I also think.

I think as much, like I said, as much prep work as you can do, the better, and then if you can, find a way, like, put up your iPhone on a tripod, hit record, and then watch it back, like, that’s so much more helpful than you would think it is, and it is, like, the hardest thing ever, because nobody likes to watch themselves speak, I mean, unless you’re, like, a straight up narcissist, like, you don’t want to watch that, but you have to.

That is hilarious. I was gonna ask, I was like, do you still cringe when you have to watch yourself speak? Speak even after the 50th time or does that go away? I cannot hide my facial expressions. Yes. I, it’s the worst. I, I, I hate watching myself back and I hate listening to myself on podcasts, but every so often I have to force myself to do it.

That makes me feel better. I hate it too. For those who are listening, we literally all hate it. Like none of us like doing it. None of us. It’s the worst. Yeah. For the longest time, I didn’t tell my family that I was doing a podcast for work because I was like, I don’t want them to listen to me. Like they’re going to, they’re going to be my, I don’t know why I thought they’re going to be my worst critics, but it’s, it really wasn’t the case when I told them, but it was, it’s, it’s back to what you’re saying.

Like you just, you have these like stories in your head, you know, it’s crazy. No, I’m still like, please, nobody, nobody that I know in real life. Like, and it’s so weird because that’s my whole career and I’m like, don’t watch it. It’s weird. I know. It’s funny, on your Instagram page, everyone listen to my podcast, follow my podcast, your private life, what podcast, what are you talking about, who, me, no.

If anything listeners, Lely is motivating us to just get out there and do it.

100%. Tamara, Jessie, do you guys have any last minute questions before we close out? I don’t think so. I think I’m hoping that I’m going to be at the creative educator conference next year because I heard so much good feedback and I enjoyed this talk with you so much lately. So I hope our listeners enjoyed it as well.

Thank you. And I do just want to add for any of those that are thinking about possible. You definitely should. It felt like it was a very intimate, very like Impactful sort of workshop slash like conversational learning environment. So it was definitely amazing. So we’re very, very, very glad that we had the opportunity to interview you today.

Thank you guys so much lately. We’re going to put it in the show notes, but do you want to let people know where they could register for next year and also find you online? Yeah, absolutely. So we have our waitlist open right now. Registration won’t open for a bit, but you can join our waitlist at creativeeducatorconference.

com. And then you can find me. I mostly hang out on Instagram at Laylee underscore Emadi, and I love trading voice DMs and voice notes. So if you guys have any questions about speaking, I’m your girl hit me up and I’m happy to answer questions. Love you guys. Thank you. And for those who are listening, thank you so much for joining in.

Check Laylee out, check the Creative Educators Conference out, and we will see you next time.

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Jessmyn Solana

Jessmyn Solana is the Partner Program Manager of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Jessmyn loves binge watching thriller and sci-fi shows, cuddling with her fluffy dog, and traveling to places she's never been before.