Tami Evans creates unforgettable experience for audiences. Her presentations enhance leadership skills, communication, empowerment, and how to have a lot more fun doing it all. She recently sat down with colleagues at the National Speaker Association Winter Conference and discussed her journey on becoming a public speaker:
As I prepare to interview Tami Evans, she asks if her friend Christine Cashen could join the conversation. While some interviews might be complicated by adding a last-minute attendee, this one is immediately enhanced. Their easy rapport and warm affection for one another is both palpable and inclusive. It’s a dynamic, fun conversation, and they build off of one another so organically that it’s difficult to differentiate between their voices in my interview notes.
I ask what advice they have for people considering entering the public speaking industry. Once you’ve got an idea of the topic you want to focus on, you’ve got to get in front of people. Cashen says, “Find something you’re passionate about and that other people are passionate about.” Rather than just telling stories, identify how your story can motivate or teach the audience. “It’s controversial,” Evans tells me, but “Speak, speak, speak, even if it’s free. You can’t shortcut feet on the stage.” The only way to get more comfortable speaking in front of people, she asserts, is to do it.
Evans lives in a smaller community and started by calling all the businesses in the online yellow pages. She told them, “I’ll do a free lunch and learn or after-work session for you.” She ended up with connections in manufacturing and businesses of all different kinds using this strategy.
Evans also suggested joining the National Speaker Association. She encouraged newbies to get involved by attending events and volunteering. There’s an element of collaboration and sharing of resources within the Association that, according to Cashen, “You just don’t see in other industries.”
As a public speaker, Evans was initially reticent to engage with the audience more organically. As a classically trained actress, she was accustomed to following a script and striving to get every word just right.
Evans recalls feeling that as an actress in New York City, in audition after audition, the only way to succeed was to become perfect, to become like everyone else.“Personality and passion upstage perfection every single time. Women think that in order to be better or succeed, they have to be less raw.” Instead, Evans suggests, “Let it hang out. Especially in the speaking industry.”
As Evans and Cashen shared their experiences and advice, the affection they have for the industry, their audiences and one another is readily apparent. For those looking to join the world of public speaking, their advice may be a perfect start.
Read the full Forbes article by Lelia Gowland here.