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Overcoming Your Fear of Public Speaking with Tricia Brouk of The Big Talk

Deciding to take the stage to give a talk can be incredibly scary but Tricia Brouk knows just how to calm those fears and have you speaking like a pro!

In this episode, Tricia shares how she leverages her unique style and diverse background in theatre, film, and television production to teach you how to overcome your fear of public speaking.

Refusing to become a starving artist and determined to make her own dreams a reality, Tricia began her business building journey with zero overhead and doing things on her terms from an early age.

Tricia Brouk is an award-winning director, writer for theater, film and television.

In addition to her work in the entertainment industry, she applies her expertise to the art of public speaking.

She’s the executive producer of TEDx Lincoln Square and has choreographed Black Box on ABC, The Affair on Showtime, Rescue Me on Fox, and John Turturro’s Romance and Cigarettes, where she was awarded a Golden Thumb Award from Roger Ebert. The series she directed, Sublets, won Best Comedy at the Vancouver Web-Festival.

The documentary short she directed and produced This Dinner is Full, was official selection at The New York Women in Film and Television Short Festival, as well as the NYC Independent Film Festival.

She also hosts The Big Talk a podcast on iTunes, where interviews people who talk for a living.

Nicole: It's my pleasure having you on the show today! My audience heard your bio and it was a lot of this film, directorial and choreography stuff, which is amazing.I wonder if you can just give us a little overview of what you're doing on a day to day basis to help entrepreneurs and business owners grow their message, positioning and businesses.

Tricia: Absolutely. Well, I think when you're an entrepreneur and you have an important message to share (which is why you became an entrepreneur) the best way to create credibility for yourself is to have a keynote or a signature talk.

If I can help entrepreneurs craft and deliver a talk that is from the heart, it will organically drive business to you. I help them identify what their idea is. I help them craft that talk so that it's not a sales pitch necessarily, and then I help them perform it so that they are vibrant and captivating and authentic from a stage.

Awesome. How did you wind up getting into this area and into entrepreneurship in general?

I do. I moved to New York City when I was 20 years old to pursue a career in concert dance and I had zero interest in being a starving artist.


I did not think that was sexy at all! I thought, how can I make money, on my terms and not be waiting tables because that's hard on the body. As a dancer, the last thing you want to do is be on your feet all day after class.

I realized that if I could create a scenario where I had zero overhead but I was still working on the same things that made sense to me with the body, that might align.

I started an in home personal training company called Brouk Moves. I was working with people in their homes. I had zero overhead. They bought all the equipment and it was going really, really well. I was able to pursue my career in dance and still make a living and but be able to not live the life of a starving artist.

Then I realized, I'm starting to go on tour now, so how do I make money while I'm on tour making money? That's where I started bringing in consultants. Now 27 years later, I have a fitness company that is a well oiled machine and we provide in home personal training to busy New Yorkers.

In order to continue to grow and stay competitive in a very saturated personal training market in New York City, I've now added personal chef services. That is what has kept me unique and fresh compared to all the other personal training companies. I've always worked for myself and I've always known what it means to scale and to be able to make money so that I can stay an artist.

Now cut to two years ago I was doing my thing in showbiz, making movies, producing theater, film, television while my fitness company was chugging along and Petra Kolber, who's an incredible speaker and author, approached me to coach her Tedx Syracuse.

She'd seen my shows. She knew my work as a director and I said, that sounds amazing. I love Ted talks. I worked with her. It was awesome. She nailed it, her talk was amazing and that was the end of it in my mind.

Then she planted this little seed. Your approach is different from other coaches. You should really think about doing this as a side gig. Then I started thinking about it and as I do, I say yes to everything because you just never know what's going to and if I make a mistake I'll just figure it out as they go along.

I started the Big Talk and I before I knew it, I had these handful of speakers who had these amazing messages and I had no place to put them. The next organic step was to put on my own show and what that meant was applying to get my Tedx License.

Four months later I had my business. I had my clients and I applied for Tedx and three months later I was granted my license and four months later I put on my first Tedx Lincoln Square in New York City.

That's how this business started. Later I was introduced to John Lee Dumas and he talked me into doing three podcasts on how I do this and what my processes.

Well, 200 podcasts later, I have shared my expertise, I've had other guests, I've interviewed Tedx organizers, Tedx speakers, and I absolutely love being able to help speakers identify they're very important message and share it with the world. That's where I'm at today as far as an entrepreneur goes!

Amazing. Why did you keep going with the podcast? You didn't need to keep going, but for some reason you have. What was your motivation for that?

I love talking to my guests. They are so inspiring and so fascinating and I learned so much from those 30 minutes that we spend together. That is why I keep doing it and I know that my listeners are gonna learn so much too.

They're going to get so much value by just dropping in with us for 30 minutes and hearing about other people's struggles with public speaking, other people's nerves, how they deal with nerves, how they deal with whether or not to write a book first or a talk first, in which order they should do it.

If I can provide the secret sauce, if I can pull the curtain back to what it means to do a Tedx or to be a Tedx organizer, I want to do that because people are afraid to take that leap to public speaking.

People feel like death is more palatable than public speaking and if there's any way that I can teach them that they can do it, I want to be able to do that. The story and the message that we have to share can potentially impact the world. If it changes one life, you have done your job. So that's why I kept doing the podcast.

Awesome I wonder if you can share maybe three of your best tips right now for people who may be thinking, I love watching Ted talks. I've got something to say, but, I am terrified of standing on stage and speaking. Do you have like three tidbits that you could share with those folks?

I think the three things I would ask them to consider are:

1.) Why do you want to take a stage? And when you answer that question for yourself, it will trump the fear part.

2.) How important is your message? If that message is not that important to you, you don't need to take a stage. If that message is constantly on the front of your brain and constantly something that you want to share with the world, yes, you should take a stage.

3.) If you know what you have to say is going to make a difference in the world and have global impact, you need to do a talk on a big stage because you'll have more reach.

It's really important when you do a Tedx, your credibility goes through the roof right away and that's just part of the Ted brand.

They're extremely well respected. When you decide to do a Ted event, it must be because your idea worth spreading is important to you. It cannot be because you want people to like your video or you're going to have a bunch of downloads.

It has to be because the idea is what's important. I think if you can continue to go back to the idea and the message and who it will impact others, you can get past that fear.

That's interesting. It's not about memorizing the script but about knowing the words that are supposed to be said. You can change it up in the moment if you're feeling so inspired, as long as it doesn't change the context.

Absolutely. And also if you can insert objective and action within your script, you will stay fresh. And that's the acting part of it. You are doing a scene, even though you're on stage by yourself.

[Tweet "The audience is your scene partner. You need to understand what it is you want from them and you have to go after it the entire time you're on stage."]

The objective never changes the action. How you get what you want from them can change based on how they're responding to you. If you want them to adopt your idea as their own, you could potentially inspire them, motivate them, or educate them. Those three actions, make your talk specific and really authentic.

Amazing. I know you've got a speaker salon coming up in New York probably around the time that this actually goes air. Do you want to talk a little bit about the program because it's really impressive and I'm excited to also be supporting and playing a little role in 2018?

Absolutely. Thank you Nicole. I started the salon basically six weeks ago and it was really a test model. I just reached out to Facebook and said, does anybody want to do a salon with me where they can work on content and delivery, sort of like an open mic nights for public speaking. I had such a response that I made it happen at the Triad Theater in New York City.

It's live, it's me in the room giving you direction, working on content, doing script analysis and notes. As the salon was forming, I realized I want to shoot the salon for everyone so they walk away with a real. and then I realized, why don't I invite people that I know who do events and panels and give my speakers an opportunity to actually book a speaking gig at the end of the salon.

I was not planning to do another salon until after Tedx, which is in March 2019, but because these speakers inspired me so deeply, I decided to put another one on September 20th and this one is going to have even more bells and whistles. I'm inviting 13 experts to come in and share things that I don't share like marketing strategy, networking strategy, podcasting like you, you're one of our experts, Nicole.

In addition to what I do with speakers on stage and through the process of identifying, crafting and delivering a really impactful talk. I'm giving them access to all of these experts and I'm going to shoot it again. They're going to get another real. But this time I went to speakers bureaus. I went to people who can book them on stages, who can get them paid speaking gigs. So the showcase on November eighth is going to be full of that kind of industry. My goal is to really get my speakers booked on stages by the end of the salon.

I wonder if you can share a bit about your philosophy on hiring others, to help you with your own interests.

I think there's a two part answer there, Nicole. The first being, if I don't know the answer, I absolutely ask someone who does. I have a complete belief in bringing in people who know more than me to help me. That is something that I am fully conscious of as far as launching something.

I am a person who puts on theater productions all the time knowing I'm not going to make a cent off of it, knowing that it's because I love it. I want to be in the room with the actors so there's no risk for me because it's all about the love of it. When I put on the speaker salon it was because I wanted help all these people.

Do you have any final words of wisdom that you would love to impart on our audience before we wrap up and say goodbye?

I would love to just remind your listeners when you are taking a stage or walking into a room or being a featured guest on a podcast, always accept the gift from your audience and from your host before you give them yours. They're giving you so much energy and if you forget to accept that before you give them yours, it's a disservice to everyone.

If you’d like to learn more from Tricia, visit https://l.triciabrouk.com/7steps for her Free 7 Step Formula For Fearless Speaking.

Continue the conversation with Tricia here…

Website: www.triciabrouk.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/triciabrouk
Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/TriciaBrouk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebigtalknyc/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tricia.brouk
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-big-talk-with-tricia-brouk/id1151802385?mt=2

If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a comment below with your biggest takeaway.