Dan Shaikh is the Co-Founder of Speaker Slam – Canada’s Premier Inspirational Speaking Competition with over 200 attendees monthly and attracting a stellar lineup of speakers and professional judges. He is a Event Producer, Video Creator and a Process Specialist.
Dan is also the Founder of Speaker Slam Video Productions empowering speakers to reach a bigger audience through video. His greatest passion and life’s mission is living and creating peak experiences for others.
We met now almost 2 years ago. In September of 2016 Dan was the President of the best Toastmasters group in the city, CSI Pitchmasters. I fell in love with the club and we’ve been great friends ever since.
In our interview together Dan speaks to:
- How to win speaker slam
- What to avoid on stage
- How to crush it in front of and behind the camera
- How event organizers actually choose speakers
Win Speaker Slam in 3 steps
After over a year of competition and dozens of events Dan has seen speakers that have crushed the stage… And the occasional speaker thats flopped. He expressed that it’s key a speaker comes with at least 2 of the following three traits,
“Our top 4 always have these 3 things in common. They demonstrate genuine vulnerability, they make our audiences laugh or they show up with poise. The confidence, charisma, and x-factor that’s intoxicated to watch and we can’t take our eyes off them.”
On the flip side, here’s Dan major tips to avoid.
How to lose Speaker Slam
The most common speaker pitfall is that of the conversationalist. They show up without having prepared, not wanting to be too scripted and as a result their message doesn’t land or they choke. Consistently, the top 4 speakers and ultimately the winners are the most prepared and take their time on stage seriously.
The way I see it is that there’s no greater level of narcissism than believing you can walk up on stage after 9 prepared speakers and believe you’re so good that you didn’t need to prepare. Repetition is the mother of learning and it’s no exception here at Speaker Slam.
How to look good for an event planner
Not only is Dan onstage as a host of Speaker Slam, he also organizes the speakers, the venue and the event as a whole. As a result he’s witnesses hundreds of applications to compete and has developed a sharp eye to what stands out for event planners.
“Your branding starts with your profile picture. It speaks volumes about how invested you are in your career. You could easily look at all of the profiles of past speakers and point out the top 3-4 from each event based on their pictures. Those speakers are serious and make a big impression on event organizers.”
From there a logical progression is to develop your brand hosticially. Dan recommends thinking deeply about your presence on the main social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube. Do you have video content? Are you writting? How are you staying relevant? If you fit the bill on these criteria you’ll be in an event planners good books.
Video Editing 101
Dan expressed to me that video is more important today than ever before (hence the video podcast). As a result, if you want your career as a speaker to grow, you need to be capturing yourself on video.
“If an event venue has 50 people in attendance and you crush it… You reached 50 people. If you crushed it AND captured it on video, than you have the potential to reach 5000 people by leveraging social media.”, Dan said.
I agree, don’t limit yourself to the confines of physical attendees. In addition, no meeting planner will ever take the risk on your as a paid speaker if they can’t see a quality speaker reel prior to the event.
Here is Dan’s top three tips to experiment with:
- Make the first 3 seconds as memorable as possible
- Invest in quality lower thirds
- Ensure your have either multiple angles, b roll, or jump cuts to keep your audiences attention
- BONUS* test subtitles as they can stop those scrolling mindlessly through Facebook in their tracks
How to kill it in front of the camera
The gave of video is simply a question of energy. If you’re a 5 in person, you need to 10x your energy on camera. It’s challenging to properly capture energy on video and so a 10 looks like an 8 and if you’re a 5 you look like a 1. Dan’s suggestion is to be more animated, speak louder and to show up with more energy than you would ever consider necessary.
Dan’s Do This Directives:
- If you want to dramatically improve your stage presence and fill in your current gaps than film yourself and review the content. I dive deeper into the need to film yourself for continuous improvement in this video (skip to 3:50 for the tip).
- Get a professional headshot… Yesterday! Take the first step towards your professional branding with a quality headshot. Then consider the way you’re showing up on social.
- Come/ Compete at Speaker Slam! You can find out more about the event and buy tickets here.
Show notes for the audio Podcast:
2:00 Me expressing my gratitude for Dan and his business partner Rina.
4:00 What is Speaker Slam?
5:30 How Speaker Slam started.
9:15 Tribute to Maria Rocellis.
10:30 How to work with a business partner.
12:31 How to make it into the top 4 at Speaker Slam.
15:30 What to avoid at Speaker Slam.
17:40 How to look good for event planners.
21:00 What do event planers want from speakers.
22:30 Why we need to create videos.
24:40 How to get more engagement on posts.
26:30 How to crush it editing videos.
32:00 The one thing you should be doing today.
Till next time, stay of the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “you cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction”