To Learn More about Misty Megia [click here] to view her Media Kit.
Janine Bolon: Hello and welcome to The Thriving Solopreneur Show. I’m your host, Janine Bolon and with me today, I have Misty Megia.
Misty Megia, is not only a CEO, but she is an amazing creative director and she really thrives on being able to help people with her business strategy training. She is an extraordinary person who has had 20 years of experience in marketing strategy, project management who can’t use more of that, public speaking, corporate branding, and just basically, channel marketing. She just traveled the world. She has shared her company’s visions, inspiration, marketing strategies to anybody, basically, who will listen, but she’s to the tune of hundreds of thousands; one of those people you definitely want to have in your back pocket so that you can access the information and content she has.
Now, outside of her business life, she is a performer, director, choreographer, not only for professional but also regional theater, a person who definitely gives back. She has blended her 2 passions of business and theater to help high-achieving individuals learn those step-by-step skills on how to present to any size audience, whether it’s a board room, or you’re speaking from a keynote stage. Sharing these strategies and techniques, she has honed over her many years. Misty helps others to find their unique voice and to own their career trajectory.
Thank you so much for being with us today, Misty.
Misty Megia: Oh, my gosh. I’m like, “Okay, Jan, I can’t live up to that.”
Janine: I always think that we write our bios and then people start saying that you’re like, “Wow, who’s that?” “Oh, me! Oh, God, I got to get up and talk now.” That beautiful saying that comes from theater, “Don’t believe your own press.” Right?
Misty: Right, totally.
Janine: Don’t believe your own press because you’re really up there to give quality content. Talk to us a little bit about the differences, because you’ve seen it all. You’ve been a choreographer. You’ve been on stage in the backstage. You’ve been on stage. You’ve done keynote addresses. You’ve spoken to little fireside chats; you’ve kind of done it all. Talk to us a little bit about, “Okay, so I’m an author,” or, “I’m an entrepreneur, and now I find myself having to get out and really sell. How do I do that without selling? How do I go about speaking and not selling?” These are things that you have on locks. So, share a little bit with this, if you don’t mind.
Misty: Yeah. I think that the difference between selling and speaking is, you move into the selling when you don’t believe in what the value that you’re bringing to the table and that’s where it moves. If you’re not truly, authentically, passionately like, “Oh, I know this is going to help people,” then you start sliding into that cheesy salesperson like, “Hey, you need this by today.” And you’re like, “no”. When you tap in to the thing that just brings you immense joy and lights you up, and everybody says, “Find your purpose,” I don’t know what that means, but me, it’s what it is that thing that just goes, “I could do this for the rest of my life.”
When you’re sharing your book and you’re sharing things that you’ve learned, and you’re just passing on that knowledge, it’s no longer a sales pitch. It’s just, “Here, I’m giving because I want to give and I want to help the next person be successful.” then you don’t feel like sales anymore because it’s really coming from a place of giving.
Janine: Right. That’s one of the things that a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with. I talk to a lot of folks about this and it’s, “When do I start selling? When do I speak? How do I merge all these things?” because we want to keep the lights on. We want to keep paying our people. They’re like a family to us. Unfortunately, we have these bills. We have passion, but we also have bills and they need to be paid.
One of the things that was fascinating about learning more about you was your literal passion for public speaking. No offense, this makes you incredibly weird. Why?
Misty: Oh, it’s that- [crosstalk[
Janine: Right? “I will own that. Thank you, Janine.” Yes, but It’s just because it’s the number one fear, and here you are totally embracing it, and it’s actually a passion of yours. So, help us out. Tell us, why did public speaking become such a passion for you, and then you go off and you mentor and train others? I love to hear that story.
Misty: For me, it wasn’t my passion. It was my fear, as well. It actually is proven that it’s part of our DNA. When I got my stuff from ancestry.com, it said that I am 50% afraid of being on stage. It’s so true.
The thing is that, I walked up on stage on my very first presentation, and my hands were shaking so bad that I was dropping my props. I remember walking back to my seat and just looking up at the ceiling, begging my eyes not to start just being drenched in tears.
From there, my parents shoved me into theatre. They’re like, “Okay, you need to get over this fear,” and they put me in theatre. I just learned a step-by-step process. I unraveled that story that I had told myself that, “I was horrible at public speaking”. I was horrible in public speaking and really, I was just shoved in front of the classroom to go, “Hey, you have to present now without being given the skills.” I think that’s a lot of us. We don’t realize that when we were little, we probably were forced into a situation that we had to speak without being given the tools to do so. We have to re-record that of like, “Hey, this is a little bit scary, but I can learn a step-by-step process. I can learn a step-by-step strategy to be successful and duplicate that success.”
I moved from being in a corporate world to teaching public speaking skills because I saw it over again in the boardrooms. People not being willing to speak up in a session, and we would walk out of the brainstorming and they go, “Oh, I wanted to say this.” I’m like, “Oh! That was brilliant! Why didn’t you say that?” It was themselves; they were muting themselves in that space.
Then, we would get speakers for our conferences and we’d have 400 submissions, and 30 were women, and 2 were people of color. I just started seeing this big disparity in this gap of women, especially not believing in themselves. I was like, “You know what? I’ve been a speaker for 20 years. I’ve been a director and actor. I’m going to take all of these skills. Here, pass it forward. Pay it forward. Let’s get you on stage. Let’s get you stepping into that vulnerability and being brave.”
Janine: That’s something that is part of the communication of the human race is, being able to stand up in front of a group and be able to rattle on, giving high-quality content about what you know, because your perspective is unique. Nobody else is a Misty. Nobody else is going to be able to give the world a perspective that Misty can give, or whoever’s up there speaking.
I think one of the biggest things for me that I would love to hear your perspective on is, the audience wants you to be successful.
Janine: Nobody ever taught me that. I had to learn that the hard way. I’d been speaking for a decade before I heard everybody in that seat wants you to be successful. Talk to us a little bit about using that psychology in your ability to then project well in your public speaking.
Misty: Well Janine, I love that so much. It’s the same thing as a director. When I am behind the table and then have watched the entire audition, I am hoping that this is the one. I am just positive, going, “Oh, this could be the one. This could be it.” and I am just rooting for them. It’s the same thing with audiences and speakers that they’re like, “Oh, this is going to be good. This is going to be good.” The hard part is that the pressure on ourselves that, that creates, like, “Hey, I have to be good. I have to be good.” sometimes is our roadblock. “What if I make a mistake on stage What if this happens?” I’m just like, “You know what? It’s going to happen.” I have a bingo card for speakers with all of the things you can fail at on stage, and I give it to my speakers and I go, “Hey, until you fill out all of these, you have not earned your badge.”
Janine: It really is a process. One of the people that I always thought was so smooth was Johnny Carson.
Janine: He had been on television for years. What was amazing is on his last show before he retired, they had a camera that was walking around behind him. This was kind of a new thing, to have the live feeds, going behind the curtain, and all that fun stuff.
Janine: I remember I was stunned because I was a young teenager at the time. I was stunned to see that before he went on stage, he was muttering his opening lines to himself, and I’m like, “This guy is so smooth. This guy is on film and in front of the camera, he’s so amazing.” It was startling and very refreshing to see he still had stage fright. Even after decades ad decades of live television broadcasting, the man was still going through his process.
So, talk to us a little bit, if you don’t mind, like you said, you got this card of where you’ve ever failed on stage, and everybody has a really good failure on stage. Mine is when the fire alarms went off in the building that I was giving a keynote address to, and 3,000 of us had to leave the building because we had to be evacuated, so I never got to give my talk. We all have a story, right? Every single person who speaks has a story. I’d love to hear yours.
Misty: Oh, my God. There’s so many. I filled out that bingo card, that’s where it came from. What do I share? Here’s a mistake that I made that I’ll share. This is a failure in me not knowing that my mic was on.
I was the emcee for a citywide holiday event that hired me. I was backstage, and I was chitchatting and I was talking to my niece, the one that you and I were speaking about that was on American Idol, my goddaughter. She and I were just chitchatting. We’re getting deep. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, and we were just talking so vulnerable and saying all these things. Somebody came running over me and they’re like, “Your mic is on! Your mic is on!” I was mortified because the mics were all of their downtowns. So, no matter where you are at, no matter how far away you are from the stage, you can hear this conversation.
Janine: Oh my goodness.
Misty: Five minutes later, I had to walk on that stage after everybody hearing my personal woes. I was like, “oooh!” I was so embarrassing.
Janine: That’s where your quirky humor saves you.
Janine: It is, so you have to go to make a joke about yourself. [crosstalk]
Misty: One hundred percent.
Janine: Right? One hundred percent make a joke about yourself. “So, now that you’ve gotten to know me a little better, let’s get to know you,” you say to the 3,000 people in front of you.
Janine: My favorite was the queen. When the podium was too tall for her, and when she was giving her talk because the speaker before her did not lower the podium so that she could speak at it. Basically, you could hear her speaking but all you saw was her hat moving. That was the only [crosstalk] you’re going to see.
Misty: Oh, no.
Janine: So, this made it into the news, it was a big brouhaha. What did she do? The very next time she’s in a live event, she goes, “Well, look at this,” because there was no podium, it was just a microphone. She stands up and goes, “Well, this is the talking hat, and now you can see all of me.” I was laughing, I was like, “Is that humor?”
So, talk to us a little bit about some of the life lessons that you’ve learned, or your takeaways at being a keynote speaker. So many people are moving forward with their businesses by becoming a keynote speaker. Talk to us a little bit about some of the lessons you have and advice. If I’m used to speaking to groups of 20, jumping to hundreds and then thousands can be a transition, there’s a step. Chat with us a little bit about some of the lessons you’ve learned.
Misty: Yeah. For me, those really stemmed from being in theater because you’re in really large audiences, typically, if it’s a big house. I personally love keynote stages more than breakout sessions. I love breakout sessions, as well, because you can really get intimate with your audience; but keynote stages aren’t as scary as people think, because you’re mostly blinded by the lights and it looks like there’s no audience. You’re just talking to yourself. One of the things that I see a lot is people don’t pay attention to their body language on that size of stage. Often, you can tell they’re nervous by them crossing their legs, or them pacing back and forth. Really, the best thing to do is just to plant your feet, be grounded, and address the audience. I break them up into different sections, so everybody feels like you are paying attention to them and delivering it directly to them; but when you plant your feet, it not only gives you a little bit more confidence because you have a strong foundation below, but it shows confidence, as well.
I see a lot of people that just kind of what we do, what we call weight shifting and theater, like the boxers, how they move back and forth, and you could tell, “Oh, what are they trying to avoid?” Their nervous energy comes out below in their feet. All of a sudden, they’re doing all these weird things. You’re like, “If you just plant your feet, none of us would know. None of us would.”
Janine: Right. There’s the kind of warm up before you actually go out on stage. What are some things that you have found that helped you before you walk out? I know, for me, the biggest thing is the sound, because I’m a podcaster; sound’s very important to me.
Janine: When I got hit, the first time I walked out on stage, and it was just the wall of sound as the audience was excited to see you because you’re the keynote speaker; but the wall of sound was like, “Okay, you finally learn to get over it,” but that’s number one. I always tell people, “Be prepared for the wall of sound.” Number two, what are some things that you can do to warm up when you get out there, because there’s dead silence, right? You have the wall of sound, and then what’s after it? Dead silence. You have every person’s undivided attention for the next 3 seconds. So yeah, no pressure. [crosstalk]
Misty: No pressure at all. No pressure at all.
Janine: Right? Yeah. How do you walk your people through that part of the process?
Misty: A lot of it is really just honing in on their opening. I think a lot of people they say, “Oh, I’m nervous,” until after the first 5 minutes. Once I’m in the first 5 minutes, I can be fine. It’s like, “You know, you can be confident from this moment you step out on stage if you have the right opening. If you are nervous, that means you do not have the right opening. Your opening should excite you so much to share it, to tell the story, to share the data, whatever it is.” I have a class that is 5 different types of openings that you can do so, you can find which one works for you.
There are definitely moments that if you’re like, “[gasps]”, then you’re not excited enough to share what you have to share. You should be so over the moon. I was just working with a client and he said the same thing, “Misty, as soon as I get into the rhythm of my overall presentation, I’m fine.” I said, “Well, let’s work on your opening.” He just did his opening at a virtual conference to 12,000 people and he crushed it. He wrote me afterwards. He goes, “Oh my God. I was so thrilled. The story went over fantastically. Everybody was talking about it. They were raving about it.” I was like, “Yes, that is how you need to prepare to open.”
Before you even go on stage though, Janine, a lot of it is really, you have to do 3 things that I have found to help you be successful. You have to figure out what mindset you need to be in. Sometimes, people need meditation or whatever, music for you, if you’re a sound person, but you have to find that peace that will get you into the right mindset.
Then, you have to have a physical activity of some sort. It could be just shaking it out, but you have to get that nervous energy out of your body. Otherwise, it stays in there and it doesn’t know where to come out, and it’s going to come out in your voice, or like we mentioned, your lower half, or whatever it is. You’ve gone to the bathroom on stage, whatever. It has to become a ritual. Without it becoming a ritual, then it won’t work, because your whole goal is to get your mindset out of that fight or flight syndrome, and into, “This is normal. This is normal” Once you make it a ritual, then your body relaxes and you go, “Oh, I can do this.” I’m the person that’s backstage, eating scrambled eggs before she goes on stage, and be like, “All right, are we ready?” I’ve already done my ritual, just called myself, get in the right headspace, I do jumping jacks, I have this same thing that I do every single time.
Janine: Ritual is important, I totally agree. I remember having to hear certain types of music and I would always dance right behind the curtains, right before it, because if I wasn’t dancing and shaking it all off, then it wasn’t going to work for me. It’s nice to hear that yeah, things work well, doesn’t matter what area you’re in.
For folks who are entrepreneurs, they’re business owners who are getting up in front of people now in ways they haven’t before, especially with Zoom being a big thing, do you have the best tip for us on how to handle Zoom? Now, we’re under the eye of the camera, in ways most people aren’t. I don’t know there’s a lot of quick tips and everything out there, but I’d rather get quick tips from people who are used to being on a camera, as opposed to people who are on a camera as of 2020. You qualify, definitely. What can you share with us is some of those best tips that you’ve seen that really work for people, those things that really help?
Misty: Yeah, it is scary for a lot of people because all of a sudden, they feel like the spotlight is on them, and they’re used to maybe being in a board room or a team meeting, where not everybody is focused on your face when you’re speaking. So all of a sudden it’s like, “Hey! Come fast.” I’m like, “oh,”. So I get it. If it causes nerves, again, go to that ritual that you created before the meetings, prepare so you know what you want to do, how you want to show up, and then take up space. It is no different than being on a stage with a bunch of people staring at you and being on Zoom. Again, plant your feet, take up your space, sit up straight, look into the camera, make sure that your camera is eye-line or slightly above, so you’re not looking down. I don’t know about the rest of you all, but my double chin is not so pretty.
Janine: We’ve all seen it, not yours necessarily, but others.
Misty: Oh, nice. My camera is much higher. For most people, it’s just a matter of speaking a little bit slower. The anxiety comes because we want to have the right answer or we want to sound articulate and intelligent, but sometimes, our mouth is moving faster than our mind. If you just slow down just a tad, then those can be in sync and you’ll just relax a little bit more into that situation.
Janine: Well, thank you. That leads us into the next thing that I was really excited about being able to chat with you about. That one is, you’ve launched and you have grown thought leadership brands. I just would love for you to chat a little bit about, what makes someone a go-to expert? Every entrepreneur I’ve ever met has a product, has a thing that they do that nobody else in the world does, like them. How do you recommend that they make themselves a go-to expert? What are some ideas that you share?
Misty: I’m like, “How long is this podcast?” I agree, it’s hard. I just got this question, too, from one of my clients yesterday. He said, “Do I start telling people I’m a thought leader? How do I go about becoming a thought leader?” He is absolutely brilliant in the space of crowdfunding and finding money for entrepreneurs. He and I just discussed all of the things that he’s an expert in, and a lot of your, as you mentioned, people that are listening to this, as entrepreneurs, you have something already that is of value and can make you a thought leader. The thing is bringing awareness to that. It might be wherever your audience is, figure out where they’re living already so you’re not creating a bunch of Instagram posts and LinkedIn, and all these places that they’re not already living at; but figuring out what platform they’re on, and just start sharing. Start sharing pieces of your book, start sharing your passion, start sharing your wise, start doing reels if they’re on Instagram or TikTok, or wherever, and really be giving. I think as you’re being giving, you’ll start being recognized as somebody that is an expert in their field.
I am truly in belief of giving content, crazy to help others succeed, and if your heart is in the right space, every single thought leader that I’ve worked with, really, their ultimate goal wasn’t to be a thought leader; it was to help. They became a thought leader because they were so incredibly giving.
Janine: Right. That’s that servant leader mindset that many of us have grown up with. That’s why we’re in business for ourselves because we think we can do things better than what we’ve seen, and we can also help those around us. That’s awesome for a lot of entrepreneurs.
Tell us, Misty, people are listening to the show. They think, “Oh, this is somebody I want to work with.” How can somebody work with you?
Misty: Oh, easy. That’s MistyMegia.com, just come check me out. I also have something for the group. I have 10mistakes.mistymegia.com, and they can download the 10 mistakes even season presenters make, so they can avoid those. You can make other ones if you want, but at least you can avoid these 10. These are things that either I have done, or speakers that I’ve worked with at conferences have done, so definitely do that.
For me, if you’re passionate about getting your message out there and your brand, and resonating with the right people, I love helping people just find their strategy, pull out the stories. If you already have a book, then it is so much easier because then, we’re just taking the book and everything that you’ve written in there, and creating really good keynotes, breakout sessions, and training sessions that can help you exponentially just get your message out there. Go to MistyMegia.com and you can contact me through there.
Janine: That’s one of the things I loved about you, was the fact that you had that 10 mistakes that have made even by seasoned, professional speakers. Of course, I downloaded it immediately and went, “Oh yeah, I did that one. Did that one” I’m like, I was great. I could tell my kids, “Look, the reason I’m sharing all this stuff with you is because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I made. I want you to make different ones, and make different ones. Why make the same ones I did? Been there, done that.” We bought the t-shirt on that fable[?], that’s why I’m always sharing that with them.
Definitely stop by MistyMegia.com, and if for no other reason, download that amazing 10 Mistakes Professional Speakers Make. I can guarantee you because I’m on her newsletter list, Misty does not pummel you with e-mails. You do not get pummeled Some people there in your mailbox 3 times, 4 times a week, that is not Misty. Misty is very appreciative of the fact that you’re there and doesn’t want you to unsubscribe just because she’s in your box too much.
Anyhow, tell us, before we go, you’re working on a book.
Misty: I am.
Janine: Yes, you are. You’re working on a book. [crosstalk]
Misty: Oh, my gosh.
Janine: I know that you’re just getting ready to do some of the editing on it, but can you tell us a little bit about it, the title at least, so we can keep our eye out for it?
Misty: The working title, and who knows, most of you that have written books, I am bowing down to you. This process is oh, my gosh. I had no idea how difficult it was. So, for those of you that already have a book that is living out there in the world, Amen to you. Amen.
The working title is, Leadership is a Performance Art. Basically, it is a review of all of my theater background because I have a degree in acting and degree in directing. Then I ended up at the Fortune 500, running a global team of multiple countries, and just how I took those lessons that I learned in theater to build a collaborative team to create marketing that was something that would stand out, and really combining the two worlds of art and business. I am really super excited about the book, but I am on my first round of edits and that’s the tough part of like, “I could say that better. I could do that better,” so I’m hoping I can get through this without stopping myself, and then get it to my editor. He’s like, “Okay, Misty. Any day.”
Janine: Yeah, it’s time for me to get my pen onto the paper. One of the things I wanted to share with you folks is definitely sign up for newsletter because when her book does come out, it is going to be incredibly helpful. If you learn the performance art tips that Misty is going to give to you in this book, you will be able to relax a lot more, not only on stage, but anytime you’re in front of people, whether it’s Zoom, you’re at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, or you’ve been asked to speak at your professional meetings, it doesn’t matter where.
Any other tips you want to give us before we leave today, Misty?
Misty: I would say, public speaking, honestly is the reason my career went the way I did. I started as a temporary receptionist and got hired into the company in OEM sales because I was not afraid to speak to the President of the company; because of that lack of fear, then I was able to just move up and move up, and be kidnapped by multiple companies along my journey. Really, it all starts with having a good two strategies that you can duplicate every time to find that confidence, to know that you are worthy, you have absolute value and that you belong there, 100%.
I do have a speaking course that only is open two times a year, and hopefully, this podcast comes out before then, but my next cohort is in August. If people are interested in joining that, it is a group cohort. Usually, I do one-on-ones, but this one is a group, my groups have just loved it. They all are like, “Can we meet every day for alumni sessions?”
Janine: Then people start begging more time from you? Yeah, it’s awesome. Wonderful. Twice a year, August, and what’s the other time that you’re opening on?
Misty: The other one is March.
Janine: March? March and August is when people can pop in and join your group cohorts. Wonderful.
Misty, thank you so much for your time today and your expertise.
Misty: Thank you so much. Hugs through the screen.
Janine: Wonderful. Thank you, I’ll take them. This is Janine Bolon with The Thriving Solopreneur. As you know, I want you to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, and reach for those stars, and you will be successful. Keep thriving, Keep growing. We’ll see you next week.