I have given hundreds of speeches in my life, but this one is different. I have delivereed at least 100 speeches or workshops in the past 10 years and have usually just walked on stage and never really knew exactly what I was going to say. I have been practicing what I would call “going with the flow” and saying whatever was on my mind at the time. I might have taken time to put together slide decks, but never rehearsed what I was actually going to say as part of my talk. Over that time I have learned how to manage my thoughts on stage and I have learned to be comfortable with silence when I need to gather my thoughts. I have practiced not saying umm or ahh and I have practiced pace and volume variation during my talks. When I would get off the stage I would usually be very happy with the content delivered and with this method every speech was different. That has been fun.
So, why do I bring this up when it comes to my TEDx Talk in January? Well, I have already put in more time on this one talk than I have on all the talks I have given in the past 10 years and I haven’t even started practicing delivering the speech yet. I have been preparing for this opportunity for a very long time and knowing what I am going to say in advance is important this time. I don’t want to deliver a stream of consciousness, I want to deliver the message I was born to deliver and that takes preparation. I am still more than a month away but my talk is taking shape and I am really enjoying the process immensely.
I am glad that this is taking place in January. The holiday season and early January are one of the quietest times in our business so I have the time to dedicate to what I want. Over the years I have invested time in construction projects, trips with the family and other fun things like that. This year, my winter break is dedicated to my TEDx Talk, and I am having a blast. I am typing out a script and sharing it with some of the smartest people I know. Once I get the script down in the coming weeks it will be time to practice.
I need this to sound natural, sound like it is just a conversation with a friend, but I don’t want to leave anything out. I know I need to engage the audience up front from the first moment. I believe I have that one nailed with the poem that Ilise wrote while we were in Africa. I need to make people laugh, but not laugh too much. I think I might need to work on that one a little bit more, that is not my natural style. And finally, I need to make them think, and hopefully think deeply, about how they can use their greatest skills to effect change in the world.
To most people, giving a speech is frightening, to me this is fun. I look forward to having many more opportunities to do this in my life and look forward to traveling the world to do it. More to come on that topic in the near future.
‘Til next time ……..