For anyone who has ever been behind an open microphone, on a stage, all eyes on you - you know "that feeling". I liken it to the feeling of being strapped in on a fast roller coaster, when it’s too late to back out. You think: I might die. I probably won’t. But I could throw up. I call it roller coaster scary and I love that feeling! If you have a bucket list, consider adding one of these exciting "out of your comfort zone" experiences. Or if roller coaster scary isn’t your thing, take a seat in the audience, it's a blast to see creativity in process. Here are some great opportunities to hear and be heard in Orlando.
- Diverse Word is a night of the authentic spoken word poetry, comedy, singing, rap, and random surprises! Hosted by Shawn Welcome on the patio at Dandelion CommuniTEA (618 Thornton Ave. Orlando) every Tuesday night at 7:30 (10 years strong). At the last event I attended, Shawn said the most amazing thing, “…what if you woke up each day only with what you were grateful for the night before.”
- Improvisational comedy/theatre is completely unscripted, spontaneously co-created by the actors on the stage. In Orlando you can take a class or see a show at SAK Comedy Lab. IMPROV classes are designed to get you out of your comfort zone and to connect you with interesting people in a fun and supportive environment. I have taken improv acting classes at SAK University for four years, it’s been transformative for my communication skills, confidence level and my overall attitude towards life. It’s taken me so far out of my comfort zone, I forget where I left it. It can be terrifying to step on stage and have no idea what will be coming out of your mouth. But the safety is that there are no wrong answers in IMPROV, you make it up as you go. And that it’s a team sport, just you and the other performers in a mind-mind of spontaneity. If you say it’s raining peanut butter, your co-creator won’t think twice they’ll just grab the jelly. How often in life do you walk into a room with absolute confidence that anything you say or do is accepted and supported? No worries if you’re not ready to get that real with it, you can check out a show at SAK Comedy Lab.
- PechaKucha 20x20 began in 2003 in Tokyo and is now in over 1,000 cities, the art of concise presentation. It is an elegantly simple presentation format where the presenter shows 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically as the speaker talks. Pecha Kucha nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas. We are lucky in the city beautiful to have a surplus of interesting people. Pecha Kucha Orlando hosts events at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
- Nerd Nite is a national movement that invites you to be there and be square. Nerd Nite is an evening of entertaining yet thought-provoking. Speakers present for 15 minutes each on a fascinating subject, often in an uncanny and unconventional way. Following each presentation is a brief Q&A. Nerd Nite Orlando recently celebrated its 5-year anniversary.
- TedX Orlando - In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.
- Open Word at Austin Coffee (929 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park) on Wednesdays features open mic poetry and spoken word.
- Orlando Story Club – builds community by sharing stories. Founded by filmmaker and storyteller Robin Cowie in 2014, monthly events offer opportunities to hear and to be heard in Orlando.
- For a more structured approach to public speaking check out Toastmasters International - Orlando.