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Speaker Slam 2018 – Sleepless in 1st place

In November 2018, 59 speakers competed in the international speaker slam in Hamburg. So, I was not only part of a new world record, but in the end even its winner. In the beginning though, it was anything but smooth.

Standing Ovations.

I can always look forward to enthusiastic applause at all my lectures, however standing ovations I do not take for granted, although I get to experience them every now and again. After my well-chosen close, an extraordinary applause broke out at the Speaker Slam and created an indescribable feeling of happiness inside of me. I almost forgot that nothing was decided yet and I was still one of 59. I had to wait a few hours before I knew who would win the competition.

Bolstering up, being on stage and inspiring people is my job, I love it, but moments like this catapult me ​​out of my comfort zone. Not only was it a big, but much rather an eloquent competition. The fact that I made it to 1st place fills me with absolute joy to this day and strengthens my motto: Yes, you can!

Damn this excitement!

Sometimes I get so excited before important events that I have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. The wild mix of anticipation and my aspiration to do great pushes a lot of adrenaline into my body. Basically, this adrenaline rush is good because it helps you focus, but when it doesn't let me sleep, even I get a little nervous. In such cases, I call my best friend who has known me long enough and well enough to ground me.

Slipped, failed, damn it!

A particular challenge of the Speaker Slam was the short speaking time of five minutes. What story do I tell in just five minutes? I did not immediately have a vision for this, and my mind started racing. On the evening of the slam there was a stage exercise as part of the event program. We were divided into smaller groups and given tasks to clearly express emotions such as anger, joy, fear, or euphoria on stage. On the one hand, I was fascinated by this exercise, on the other hand I was totally inhibited of doing it. I held back, watched the others mesmerized and when the workshop time was over, I hadn’t taken the stage. I was annoyed with myself because I felt it would have been a great chance to have a new experience. This chance slipped! In addition to my spinning thoughts, there was now also the frustration of my failure.

Use every moment!

Those emotions that clearly did not want to enter the stage with me at the workshop found their place in a playful way at the get-together with some other participants in the later evening. Freed from the workshop atmosphere, I could suddenly scream, romp, and even get proper loud. That was amazing and that night I slept well and peacefully.

Of course, adequate pre-slam excitement returned. Shortly before my performance I met the voice trainer Diana Dressler, who spontaneously gave me a small session. It wasn’t more than ten minutes, but like through a magic wand, my voice immediately sounded clear and sonorous. On stage, which I conquered shortly afterwards, the result, as crazy as it may sound, was that the sound of my own voice inspired me and helped me quickly find my sovereignty.

Be aware of what creates your impact!

Just like I expected, the time on stage passed very quickly. In advance, I had loosely spun a red thread in terms of content. The time display, however, mercilessly informed me that I would not be able to tell most of it. The beginning and the end of a speech or lecture are the two most powerful moments. Especially the ending decides how the audience will feel and what they will take away from it. That's why I decided to put a pointed, strong end point, even if some of the content would be omitted. I would be the one to end my speech, not some time signal, possibly in the middle of a sentence.

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© 2024 Janis McDavid