As many people are going back to the office, they are also going into meetings, interviews, auditions, networking events, and conferences. After months of being at home, Shakila Stewart is teaching women how to get back into the rooms they deserve with confidence.
Shakila is a premier confidence and presence coach, helping female entertainers to get grounded in their faith, identity, and purpose, for lasting success in the entertainment industry.
Blackenterprise.com sat down with Stewart to hear her 10 ways to command a room in the entertainment industry.
Blackenterprise.com: How did you come up with this list?
Shakila Stewart: Well as a woman in the entertainment industry, It is very important that you show up with confidence and lead with your posture, presence and personality without compromising who you are.
I remember, I was at a networking event and I met the COO of Paramount Pictures. He was very kind and sincere. He shared with the audience about his love for his family and work. He also explained that Paramount was in search of their next Tyler Perry. During the event, I walked up to him, shook his hand (before the coronavirus, of course), and told him that I enjoyed hearing about his family. He then asked about my profession. I told him my name and I confidently told him “I am one of your next Tyler Perry’s!” Then, he gave me his email address and said to reach out. The next morning, I emailed him my résumé and cover letter and he then connected me with a job interview for Fox.
BE: That’s awesome! How did you hear about the event?
SS: I volunteered! I was an event hostess for Viacom which awarded me a seat at the table with the COO of Paramount Pictures, Netflix, VH1 executives and Tyler Perry’s lawyer.
BE: So what are 10 ways to be memorable and command any room that you enter?
1. Affirm yourself, before you leave your house and enter any networking event you have to empower yourself, start with I AM statements that will help you feel good about yourself and build confidence. Look in the mirror and recite:
I AM beautiful.
I AM talented.
I AM enough.
I AM strong.
I AM confident.
Along with affirmations, know your résumé; career highlights, and notable personal achievements. This will help you know what unique value you bring to the room and what you have to offer during conversations.
2. Make sure you enter the room with great POSTURE. How do you walk with great posture? Chin up! Shoulders back and a happy face. (Practice)
3. PRESENCE: Check your emotions before you leave your house. Look in the mirror and practice these facial expressions: Happy, sad, fear, anger, and surprise. Choose which emotions you want to enter the room with. I hope that you choose HAPPY! Everyone loves to be around someone with great energy.
4. PERSONALITY: Introduce yourself to others at the event. You can start by giving a compliment. I like your shoes, that’s a lovely hat, I like your purse, etc., then you can introduce yourself.
5. RESEARCH: Always research the event so that you know key people to connect with, how to engage in conversation, and so that you will know what to wear.
6. GROOMING: Let your professionalism reflect externally as well! First impressions are everything.
7. LISTEN: Always listen to the speaker and get as much information as possible.
8. ASK A QUESTION: Always ask a question. Don’t ever be afraid to ask a question. Nine out of 10 times someone else has the same questions as you and it also makes you stand out in the room. People will remember you for being bold and asking a question and you will also gain information by asking a question.
I was on a Zoom call with Michelle Obama’s former aide and I asked a question and she drilled me for seven minutes. I was a bit embarrassed at first but I left the Zoom call empowered. The next day she inboxed me on social media asking my advice for an event that she was having for her company.
9. CONTACT INFORMATION: Have your business cards or social media account(s) ready to share. Take pictures and make sure you tag the name of the event and the people that you came with or took photos with.
10. FOLLOW UP! Make sure that you follow up with all those you met and want to stay in touch with the next day through email and invite them for coffee, Zoom, or lunch.
For more information on Stewart and her program for women in entertainment visit ShakilaStewart.com.