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Interview with Kavea R Chavali

Kavea R Chavali is a multiple awards-winning Anchor and presenter in the LIVE EVENTS industry. She is touted to have the classiest voice and is the most preferred Anchor for hosting marquee events. 

Having hosted more than 1400 shows across 16 countries, she has been the voice for more than 800 brands. A former electrical engineer from the prestigious NIT Warangal, she is also the co-founder of a premium handloom brand KALANECA.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
That if not for an Anchor, I would have joined the Indian Navy to become the 1st woman chief of Naval staff.

Q.2 When should we expect your next book?
The next book will take some time because my debut book is soaking in so much appreciation and reach that my focus is to let it make as much impact as possible.

Q.3 What inspired you to write Mic Check 1, 2, 3, and what do you hope readers will take away from it?
The Stage, the events industry, and the moments on stage inspired me to bring my ruch observations to the audience. I often came across a lot of people who said there is no college that teaches how to Anchor/Emcee or how to go about this profession, so I decided to write this anecdotal guide to answer those questions and give people a glimpse into the LIVE EVENTS industry.

Q.4 What was the most challenging aspect of transitioning from being a successful anchor to becoming an author?
I am really good with spoken communication and words flow easily when I hold the microphone. However, it was not easy for the words to flow when I held the pen. Also about where to start because there is a tonne of information inside my head so breaking it down into chapters and sharing was a time-consuming process. But honestly writing a book was never part of my plan so just being able to do this has allowed me to genuinely smile a give a pat on the back.

Q.5 Can you share a memorable experience from your career as an anchor that influenced the content of your book?
There are many but one moment could be opening the show for the launch of the movie RRR in Mumbai or when the late Shri APJ Abdul Kalam sir appreciated my work on stage or even the trials and hardships I faced at the start of the industry. They made up for really juicy stories trust me, it was an amalgamation of all the above and more

Q.6 In your opinion, what sets apart a truly exceptional speaker or emcee from the rest?
A good speaker speaks well. An exceptional speaker listens better. Also, the ability to put the spotlight on your audience allows their light to shine on you.

Q.7 Can you provide a sneak peek into some of the practical tips or strategies readers can expect to find in your book?
Firstly the readers will get to deep dive into my world of the LIVE EVENTS industry.

Secondly, every reader will go back with hands-on tips to speak on stage and understand what it takes to speak on stage and get paid too

And finally, I guarantee every reader will be excited to take the mic and say MIC CHECK 1, 2, 3 after reading this book.

Q.8 How do you stay motivated and continue to evolve in such a dynamic industry?
My motivation comes from being high in life. I wake up every day with a thought to be ever-evolving, ever-learning, and make an impact. I have the buzz moments that keep me going and being a Navy kid I am very adaptable to change so it kinda makes it easy.

Q.9 What role do you believe storytelling plays in effective communication, especially in live events?
There is a famous song that ends with a line - ‘Zindagi aur kuch bhi nahi teri meri kahaani hain’ I believe we all are filled with stories and it is storytelling that will change the way we communicate. 

In Live events you can either start by saying ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ or you could start with an anecdotal take on the topic and that alone can start establishing you as a subject matter expert.

Q.10 Are there any misconceptions about the speaking or emceeing profession that you'd like to address through your book?
More than a misconception, I would want this industry to become more visible. When you say the word Anchoring, you associate it with TV and you find it illustrious. Emceeing despite being very lucrative as a profession is still not known to people.

Q.11 Can you share a particularly humorous or unexpected moment from your time on stage that didn't make it into the book?
So this one is not a pleasant moment but highlights the need for safety at shows. During one of my shows, the messy backstage (which we are used to) had a massive lighting fixture on the top while its base was not covered. The base had 4 pointed rods and the steps backstage did seem wobbly. This was around 2014-2015 and the show was happening at a massive 5-star hotel in Gurgaon. 

I had warned the event managers that this seemed to be a safety issue but the regular ‘chalta hain’ attitude prevailed. Halfway through the show after announcing the next session as I walked back, the steps broke and my leg tripped and fell on the pointed iron rod. The rod pierced through my leg partially. The event organizer stepped up and got me headed to the hospital while she gave an earful to the event manager. 

She handled the rest of the event for me. This incident taught me to be extremely particular and draw my boundaries because I was not going to let someone else’s lack of safety procedures rob me of a moment to do my work with passion. A painful learning though. Ouch!

Q.12 What advice would you give to aspiring speakers or emcees who are just starting their journey?
Observe events on YouTube and around you. Participate in events as a guest and connect with the Anchors/Emcees at these events. Use LinkedIn to connect with Anchors but do not connect just to ask for an opportunity. Be a learner. Hone your skills and do your voice recordings at home. Put it out on Instagram or online because today every new creative way can open doors to numerous opportunities.

Q.13 What was the most surprising discovery you made while researching or writing your book?
Oh well, in the process of writing, I got to relive the moments and stories that I was sharing. I also discovered that when you are performing something in your courage zone do not leave it to HOPE or a chance. 

Instead, have a clear outcome in your mind and do what you do with passion. My outcome was to benefit the readers and get them to know how to get paid to speak on stage. That thought helped me give direction. Also, enjoy the process.

Q.14 Have you ever had a moment where you felt doubt or imposter syndrome, and if so, how did you overcome it?
Oh bigtime. I am an ANCHOR and never in my wildest dreams did I ever manifest writing a book or ever thought I was capable of writing a book so I suffered the imposter syndrome massively. 

No wonder I delayed the launch of my book by 2 years because it took me that much time to convince myself that I was not chasing the title of Authorship but pursuing the title of a storyteller. That mind shift allowed me to finally bring out the book.

Q.15 How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
I took 8 months to write my book because I was massively traveling and hosting shows. Plus this was my first book so it was inevitable that I would take that much time. I now know that as of today if I were to write my 2nd book I can complete it in 45-60 days too.

Q.16 What are some common mistakes you see novice speakers or emcees make, and how can they avoid them?
First is the language. People assume that you have to ONLY speak in English to be a good Anchor but that’s not the case. You can see how even IPL has amazing Anchors in regional languages that have the same gravitas. 

Secondly, the accent. I have mentioned in my hook how there is a difference between diction and accent. The moment people see the mic, there is an added accent that comes. That is unfortunately a turn-off because people today can sense the authentic you. 

And finally being an Anchor or an Emcee is not about bagging the spotlight but about driving conversation with the audience and putting them in the spotlight so that that light shines back on you.

Q.17 Can you share a piece of advice or mantra that has been particularly impactful in your career?
The famed actor Kabir Bedi who has one of the most impactful voices shared a beautiful mantra - Don’t talk AT the audience. Talk TO the audience.

Q.18 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I do genuinely read all the reviews and so far they have been very positive so it makes me very happy. But honestly, even if there are any negative reviews it will not bother me because today I am in a space where I am happy being flawsome. I am open to feedback and I treat it as a POV rather than as a decision-maker.

Q.19 Are there any particular authors or works that have influenced your writing style?
My style of writing is very conversational. My book has elements of writing as though Kavea is talking to you. So this is purely my style of writing. However, I read books by Robin Sharma and Morgan Housel as I enjoy that genre of writing.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far.
Surreal, A blend of learning, feeling, and sharing. I enjoy sharing a bit of my life on social media but I do not share it all. With this book, I have allowed myself to feel more and learn more. I feel that writing this book was a game-changer in my attitude rather than just being a milestone.

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