Safe Spaces Start with Words

No matter whether you are a new or experienced public speaker, it’s likely that you feel a touch of nerves before you step on stage. There’s something both exciting and unsettling about exposing your most valued thoughts or ideas in a public forum. Perhaps you’ll be ridiculed, exposed for the fraud your “inner voice” claims you are. Perhaps you’ll amaze the audience and they’ll crowdsurf you from one end of the auditorium to the other.

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Having hosted and facilitated hundreds of events over the years, we know that to get the best performance from a speaker, it’s essential that they feel safe. Comfortable. Supported. They need to be able to get into the right mindset to deliver the best of their ideas, words and stories. They need to become super-human versions of themselves to engage, connect and hold the audience who have hang on their every word. It’s why we put so much effort into the planning of our sextech hackathons.

But the thing is, every event is different. Every audience has an unexpected character that won’t be revealed until you — the speaker — reveal yourself first. And it is in that moment that negotiation takes place.

The way that organizers manage speakers is by minimizing distraction. Managing the experience of distraction. That means having the speaker greeted by a “speaker liaison” as soon as they arrive. It means shared phone numbers. It includes food and drink, a quiet room to prepare and contemplate the moment. And it means a great briefing — lots of reassuring words from the host/facilitator to the speaker who is going to wow the audience.

So, if this is what we need for keynote speakers at events, imagine what is required when it’s your body, safety and identity on the line. What’s required from the performer when it comes to porn? How do you prepare the performers, create a safe and comfortable space? And how do you manage consent when proceeding move in an unexpected direction — or you no longer feel comfortable or safe?

All of these questions and more will be discussed in an upcoming episode of Interview — an in-depth interview with amazing humans. This upcoming episode features Angela White who will be explaining what it means to run an ethical porn set.