In this interview, award-winning writer, Director, leading TEDx Coach, and Founder of The Big Talk Academy, Tricia Brouk shares her expert tips for public speaking as well as her biggest tips for achieving success.
Prefer to listen? Listen to the full interview on your favorite podcast platform.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I moved to New York City when I was 20 to pursue a career in professional dance and theatre. Being an artist in New York City is not something that pays a lot of money, so I decided to start my first company to afford my apartment, buy the shoes I wanted, and go out to dinner. It was a fitness company, which enabled me to have the lifestyle I wanted while pursuing my dream of dancing.
How did you go from performing on stage to being a TEDx Speaker Coach and Founder of The Big Talk Academy?
I decided to move on from performing because my impact was limited to the number of people in the theatre.
I transitioned from being on stage to being on the other side of the table to have a bigger reach. I began to write, produce, direct and choreograph shows.
Then a friend of mine asked me to direct a TEDx show that she had just booked, and I decided to go for it.
It was great fun and when I thought about the ripple effect of working with thought leaders who have important messages to share, I knew this was how I could make more impact and make the world a better place. I would do it one speech at a time.
So I became the executive producer of TEDx Lincoln Square. From there, I curated a speaker salon in NY City and ultimately launched The Big Talk Academy shortly after, to support people who didn’t live in NY City.
What is The Big Talk Academy?
It’s a 12-week certification program that takes people on the journey of writing their talk through to performing a virtual showcase with me, and for influencers.
What has been the key to your career and business success?
We all struggle, and we all have challenges as human beings in the world, it’s how we see those challenges that serve us for the better or not.
Mindset is paramount. When we are clear on what we desire and we relentlessly go after it, anything is possible.
And when we take the word how out of the equation and simply decide that it’s ours and have gratitude for it, anything is possible.
What advice do you have for anyone trying to make it in the creative industry, whether that’s dance or anything else?
Consistency is key. You have to show up every day. For me, when I couldn’t get through a door I would build my own. I began producing my own shows, wrote my own musicals, and made it happen, and you can too!
If someone says no, it means not yet, somebody else is going to say yes.
As an expert in public speaking, What are the biggest mistakes speakers make?
The biggest mistake speakers make is making it about them. When a speaker takes the stage and thinks that it’s about them, they will not connect to the audience and it makes them nervous.
It has to be about the message, the idea, and sharing the story to serve and make a difference.
Taking a stage is a big responsibility, you need to understand it’s not about you. You need to always be serving the audience.
How do you connect with the audience, especially when you have a very short time?
Being succinct and being direct and effective is how you want to approach writing a TED-style talk.
Open with a story that will get the audience’s attention. Create a talk that’s a gift, not an ask, and an idea, not an issue, so that the audience adopts your idea as their own at the end. This is very different from a keynote.
A keynote speech is usually 45 – 60 minutes in length. In a keynote you start by sharing why you’re a credible expert, then you tell the audience what you’re going to talk about, then you talk about it, then you summarise, and finally, there is a call to action.
TED-style talks evoke new ways of thinking by sharing information.
How do you grab the attention of an audience quickly?
The best way to do that is to review your content and recognize where you are saying the same thing with different word choices.
Too many people say the same thing over and over again.
You must be strict with yourself, “Kill your darlings,” and remove the areas where you’re saying the same things multiple times. Then read it out loud and continue to edit it down until you have the most impactful ideas being shared in a way that is built up, like building blocks, one step at a time.
How do you manage your nerves?
You must rehearse under mild stress. Then increase that stress, and increase that stress a little bit more. Even if you have spoken on stage before, your body will betray you once you get on stage.
Rehearsing alone in front of a mirror is the perfect way to set yourself up for failure because there is zero stress.
What’s the biggest challenge that women face when trying to succeed or trying to start a business?
I always see everyone as equal. I think the biggest challenge that women face is not an external challenge, it’s themselves.
It’s their internal challenge of “Am I good enough?” “Can I pull this off?” “Do I deserve to be successful and rich?” All of this is internal.
Of course, you deserve to ask for what you’re worth because you are valuable!
What daily habits have you developed for success?
I am extremely consistent. I get up at 4 am every day, and I study. The first half hour to one hour is spent reading. Then I move into exercise, then I move into meditation.
Then I write what I’m grateful for and design my day.
I am very consistent with how much water I drink and I’m consistent with not checking my emails until I’ve gone through this process.
For me, it’s all about being consistent.
This is what works for me in terms of showing up at 150% for my clients, my family, and my community.
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