One of my lovely VIP clients recently asked me for advice about answering the final question in the pageant. This is the question that makes women the most nervous because in most pageants it separates the winner from the others in the top 5. When she asked me, I realized that she was probably looking for sometime about taking deep breathes or studying all sorts of questions until you know everything under the sun.
I think my answer surprised her at first (although, we’ve been working together for several months, so she’s used to me solving the root of the problem rather than handing her a bandaid).
In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you the advice I gave her my top three tips for answering the final question at your pageant. I’ve done several training episodes on the specifics of answering your on-stage question, which I suggest you take a listen to as well. So, today’s episode is going to look at the final question with a more holistic approach.
1. Flip the Power Dynamic
The first concept you have to understand is that most women show up to that question feeling judged and responding by attempting to perform and create an ideal answer that will make the judges proud. That’s not the best way to do it. In this way, you are subconsciously giving the judges the power to control you. You position them above you with greater power.
My first tip is to flip the power dynamic. After all, you’re the one with the microphone! You have the greatest opportunity to create an impact and everyone is hanging on your every word. By just flipping the dynamic to envision yourself as the one more in control of the outcome, you’ll instantly clear your mind from all the emotional cobwebs that you’d otherwise have to sort through.
2. Flood your thoughts with your essence
The second tip is to focus on the essence of who you are. Our minds are always full of thoughts, which are generated from our environment. Remember when you would cram for a test in college and it worked?! The reason you could get an A on a test you barely studied for is because you flooded your mind with the thoughts immediately before the test was taken. You weren’t absorbing the information, per say, but it was enough to make those thoughts available to your brain. I tell all my clients to cram’ for their on stage question. You need to release everything else that is happening in that moment to focus on your essence what makes you, you: your values, strengths, beliefs, experiences, and goals. When we’re nervous, it’s hard to tap far into our thinking mind, and instead we pull information from whatever is on the top’ of our mind. Flood your mind with your values, strengths, beliefs, experiences, and goals in an organized manner moments before the on stage question. Practice this method so you know you can do it on a moment’s notice in a high-stress environment. Then, everything that spills out will be aligned with your true essence, and that’s who the judges what to know.
3. Be honest
The third tip is to be honest. Being honest is a more concrete way of saying, be yourself.’ That phrase be yourself’ is largely misunderstood because it’s hard to imagine being someone else.’ But what the phrase is trying to encourage is that you be honest with who you are rather than hiding your insecurities and trying to be perfect. No one believes you when you’re perfect. Perfection’ is annoying, but honesty is endearing. The first time I landed in the top five of a state pageant was in my early 20’s and the question I got was from a beautiful, mid-30’s judge who asked me, What kind of mom do you want to be? My answer was a hideous pageant answer. Something like, I want to be like my mom, very supportive, caring, and loving.
However lovely, it was a total lie. The truth was that I didn’t even think I wanted kids! But I peered down at this judge wanting so badly for her to like me that I made up this beautiful lie. In hind sight, I wish I would’ve said, Ya know, I haven’t decided that I want to be a mom yet. I’m hoping to one day meet a man that I want to marry and I’m trusting that when that happens, I’ll feel inspired to have children. Then, I’m sure my mom vision will come to life. If I’d have said that, I would’ve gotten a roaring applause and been seen as so honest, trustworthy, likable, and relatable. Instead, my beautiful lie got a sweet little applause and I was first runner up.
I’m telling you this story so you know that this stuff happens. I’m not a liar, but in that moment, I wanted to be liked so badly that it clouded my mind and shaped my answer. That is one of the most memorable experiences of my pageant career because it was in that moment that I began to see myself as a unique individual and I started to speak my truth with grace and love. I never lied on stage again. Instead, I developed a lovable interview personality (all my own, by the way) that was unapologetic and fully in love with me.
Flip the dynamic so that you see yourself as in control
and powerful. Flood your thoughts with your essence,
what makes you spectacular.
And, be honest.
That, my dear, is how you win a pageant.
Additional Trainings for On-Stage Question:
How to Write Your On Stage Intro
On Stage Question Made Easy: No More Nerves!
A Recipe for Story Telling
For more great pageant training, enroll in the Free Pageant Course