We recently connected with Lia Bai and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Lia thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. How did you learn to do what you do? Knowing what you know now, what could you have done to speed up your learning process? What skills do you think were most essential? What obstacles stood in the way of learning more?
Public speaking skills can make and break a professional speaker.
In the beginning, my focus was learning the crafts of speaking. My goal was to look fabulous on stage with vocal variety, facial expression, hand gestures, stage movement and etc. It was about me in action and acting.
My attitude about speaking has changed a lot in the past years. I’m no longer thinking too hard about how I look on stage but focusing on my responsibilities as a speaker. What can I say and how do I say it to make a positive impact on my audience. Though I’m still working diligently to fine-tune my crafts, I’m unlearning some of the speakings skills that I used to be proud of. My goal now is to talk like a normal human being and have conversations with my audience.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I’m a professional speaker, author, and humorist based in Dallas, Texas. Born and raised in Chengdu, China, a city famous for its spicy food and giant pandas, I stumbled into my calling in public speaking through the twists and turns of my life and career. With my talent in comedy art and expertise in diversity and communication, I weave storytelling with points and punchlines. I’m a performing artist with a mission to add some extra spice to an increasingly drearded world with my humor. I deliver humorous keynote and clean standup comedy to women’s groups, corporate clients, conventions, church groups, and social gatherings.
Most recently, I’m honored to be selected as one of the TEDxPlano 2022 speakers. The live event is on April 23, 2022 in Plano, Texas.
Have you ever had to pivot?
As a professional speaker, I have to identify my niche and pick up my lane. A few years ago I made an important decision to pivot my lane thanks to a prospective client who rejected me.
The client was a director at a Fortune 500 company. She asked me: “Why should I hire you?”
I said that I could help her diverse workforce find their leadership voices. She replied that her corporate trainers with degrees in communications could easily train her employees.She was not wrong. Why should she spend thousands of dollars hiring a speaker if her in-house trainer(s) could do the job? Her rejection was a wake-up call and forced me to think and ask questions:
Q: Am I a trainer?
A: No, I’m not a trainer. Trainers teach the skills that employees must have to be able to perform their job well. Trainers are professionals but not entertainers.
Q: So, who am I?
A: I’m a professional speaker, a performing artist who entertains and inspires. I develop my content with my expertise, passion, and interest. I deliver my messages with style like no one else. My role is to influence my audiences to think, act, and change.
That was an important pivoting moment in my speaking career. It has helped me to have a laser focus on the journey ahead.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
The most rewarding aspect of being a performance artist is doing what I love to do while bringing joy and laughter to the world. The act of creation allows me to learn and grow endlessly. Being an artist allows me to share my work with the world and touch someone’s soul and heart. Watching and hearing audience responses to my talks is one of the best feelings as an artist.