Listen to The Small Nonprofit podcast on your favourite platform:

Slay the Mic with Jam Gamble

Also listen at:

iTunesGoogle MusicStitcher


Jam Gamble is one of Toronto's gifted leaders who pushes the envelope and encourages everyone to cultivate their own inner light and abilities. The multi-passionate media personality and speaker is on a mission to help people build their confidence and amplify their voice from the boardroom to the stage to your event with 1000 plus people. This Brampton raised speaker will inspire everyone to go beyond their limitations and grab hold of the life that they want.

I'm so excited to talk with you and learn about what you do. Let's start by sharing with us how you came to be someone who teaches others how to find their voice and share it.

I started when I was in grade five, when I was in the announcement club, because I was that kid who talks a lot at school. And unfortunately, my teacher saw it as a problem. My mom saw it as a problem. And when I found the announcement club, it was like the only place where I could talk excessively and my voice was respected. I was still a chatty student. And a lot of my teachers didn't appreciate it. But then when I graduated from school, my mom gave me this really simple piece of advice. She’s like: don't be basic. I was like, Alright, cool. Let's start living life, not basic. Because my background was in special education, I decided I wanted to go to Rogers TV and do an interview for Autism Awareness Month. I accidentally clicked the show proposal option. I was like basically pitching what show I wanted to be on and not actually pitch a TV show. So I accidentally pitched a TV show, and the producers liked it. I had a show for six seasons. I had no TV background, but I learned how to build my voice and to do interviews and to communicate through that platform. When I got out of television, I pivoted into like events and I was hosting events and doing little like small speaking engagements that a lot of people would ask me. How do I do that? How do you get in front of an audience? How do you jump on stage and just maintain a conversation and feel so comfortable? Then one day, I decided to start a speaker program. That’s how Slay The Mic was born.

When you work with people in your program on their public speaking, what are some of the common barriers that they have to overcome to get comfortable in front of an audience?

Most of the time, people’s barriers are themselves. They've created this narrative in their head that I don't sound good. No one is going to want to hear what I have to say. I'm not that educated, I'm not that experienced. My voice sounds flat. All these types of things. And they keep repeating those thoughts every time they approach a microphone or approach a speaking opportunity. But on a deeper-rooted issue. There's an activity I do my program called, Who's Your Kanye? And we kind of do this deep dive on who or what happened in your past that might be preventing you from articulating yourself or sharing your story or launching that business or that idea. So there are significant barriers that people are holding on to but for the most part: we are our biggest Kanye. We count ourselves out before we even begin.

I couldn't agree more. What attracted me to your work was that you help people find their authentic voices. Can you talk about how that comes across in your program?

So when we think about owning our voice and public speaking in general, people usually like to chalk it up to being this perfect speaker who's memorized the speech. And to me, when you memorize something, you lose, in my opinion, a bit of that authenticity because you've practiced this so many times, and it's so rehearsed and you're focusing more on the execution and less about the intention and the impact you wanted to have on people. In the Slay The Mic program, we really focus on loving the sound of your voice. Because if you do not like how you sound, people are going to pick up on that. Maybe they're going to feel that you're lacking that confidence that you're hiding behind dislike the screen of doubt that when you learn to appreciate your voice and appreciate what you have to say, and you're connected and invested in what you have to say, that's how that authentic side of you comes out.

As you said, a lot of the people you work with are just trying to find their voice. Can you take us a little deeper in terms of how we can actually start to overcome our internal barriers?

It goes back to what I was saying before that it's believing in being connected to what you have to say. So if there's something you're passionate about, for example, aside from public speaking and entrepreneurship. I'm very passionate about education. So I know that when I'm in the middle of a discussion or a debate or even sharing online I'm sharing my opinion because I am and I'm connected to what I have to say I believe wholeheartedly in what I have to say, I know that there's meaning in it. I know that someone can learn from it. And most importantly, it could evoke change. So when I have that mindset, therefore, I'm going to feel totally comfortable enough to go out and share those opinions. But if you don't believe in the value in what you have to share, you're feeding that barrier. You're, you're not even starting, you're like, oh, boy, yeah, there's no way I could jump in on this conversation. There's no way I could lead this discussion at work. There's no way I could be a guest speaker on a panel or in an event if you don't believe in what you have to say. So for a lot of the clients that I work with, we spend a lot of time working through those kinks that they've unfortunately brought together and make them reconnect with their thoughts and their opinions, and most importantly, their ideas. And when they see that value in it, they feel unstoppable.

How do you help people find their grounding positions and craft their messages?

So when I work with people, we actually don't work on memorizing. We work on what your intention is, and what your what you want your outcome to be. When people know those two things, they're able to craft whatever their message is going to be because they know what their intention is, and they know what the outcome they hope the outcome is going to be. Come up with a list of your intentions. Do you want to reassure your audience? You want to educate them? Do you want to motivate them? Are you trying to sell something? And what do you want the end result to be? Once you figure out your intention and intended outcome, don’t overthink. Trust your voice. A lot of people who overthink is because they don't trust themselves.

I imagine that this is also something that improves with practice. Not necessarily practicing the speech, but just practicing using your voice in that way, what changes for people over time once they start with this mindset that I have value to contribute and I speak with intention. How do people grow with that?

They notice that their fears start to vanish. It does take practice, and practice requires you to do it as often as you can. People often think that that means I have to be getting booked, I have to be on a stage, I have to have a large audience in front of me in order to get that practice. We're living in a very digital time, that every time you put a story on Instagram or you do a zoom call or you have a conversation that might be uncomfortable with somebody, you are practicing, and you are slowly chipping away at whatever those fears were that would stop you in the first place.

Are there any other common tips you find sharing with people can help them overcome the fear of sharing.

In my experience working with people, one of the things that are holding some people back is that they hate how they look on camera and how they sound on camera. And, and that requires a lot of work too because that goes back to self-love and loving how you look and loving how you sound and realizing that your voice is yours. But when I tell people that, people would respond by saying ok so do I need a self-love coach, do I need to go work with a body image coach? No, you don't. You all have a mirror in your house. And if you don't have a mirror, then you have a phone that has a camera. What I encourage you to do is to take time every day talking to yourself in the mirror. Record yourself talking to yourself. Put on your video recorder and talk, share your opinion. Listen back, listen to your voice, look at your facial expressions, reconnect and appreciate those two things that are your conversation starters. Because once you get comfortable with how you look and how you sound, you're going to go on camera, no problem, you're going to share your opinion, no problem, you're going to jump on a conference call without hesitation, because you are able to overcome that big discomfort that's holding most people back in the first place. So that would be my big tip for people.

I find that where people really start to connect with you is when you show up in a consistent and authentic way. You don't want to be someone else, and you certainly don't want to be someone different in person, online, on the stage, etc.

Yeah. I'm glad you said that because even when I've done reflection activities with clients, I'll say like, who is the speaker that you admire? As opposed to who's a speaker you, you know, desire to be, or you wish you could sound like no, no, because there's obviously going to be speakers and people you come across who there is there's traits or qualities about them that you admire or you appreciate. But you don't want to be a replica of that. Because when it comes to your voice, and it comes to how you sound and how you present yourself, you definitely want to stand out. And you're definitely not going to stand out if you're being somebody else.

Once we come into ourselves and find our confidence, it starts to self perpetuate, We start to embrace those imperfections, because that is what makes you you.

Before we wrap up, I will just leave you with one of my affirmations from the Slay The Mic program and it says “think it, feel it, say it.” Okay. So like if you want to talk, I need you to think about what you want to say. I want you to feel it. Do you feel that it's important? Do you feel that it's gonna inspire somebody? Then say it. So I hope in everything that I shared today that I will encourage someone to stop overthinking and stop doubting. Right now, we're not meeting in person anymore. We are online. Even though It seems crowded right now, there's going to be someone who's gonna appreciate what you have to say. So just share it.

Resources from this Episode

The Good Partnership


Follow Jam on Instagram and Twitter

Jam’s website

The Small Nonprofit is produced by Eloisa Jane Mariano