Igniting The Stretch

I recently was invited to join the “Ignite talks” run through the Australian Computing Society and held at Microsoft here in Perth WA.

An Ignite talk consists of 20 slides automatically changing every 15 seconds. Giving you exactly 5 minutes to complete your talk.

Always loving new ways to stretch myself as a speaker and so I agreed.

And then the fear crept in.

I always experience a level of fear before presenting usually mixed with excitement. But this was different. 5 minutes!!! Automatically moving slides!! What was I thinking!?

I find it extremely easy to speak in front of audiences for hours on end. Moving with the ebb and flow of the conversation and having the space to settle into a talk (which usually takes about 5 minutes! classic)

I wanted to get it perfect. I wanted to convey my message. An evolution of my message in a succinct and powerful way. And so I practiced…. A LOT. I stood in front of my computer repeating word for word what I had written. I timed myself. I got the slides to auto play on my computer (which took some help as I use a mac and it had been formatted on microsoft funny enough)

I rehearsed in the shower, I am sure my kids know the talk off by heart and I practiced as I drove to the event and in the toilet before.. yep I’m that girl.

So there I am standing on stage, and the talk begins. I remind myself to speak sloooowly as I have a tendency to speak quite fast. And then all of a sudden there goes the first slide! WHAT I have to speed up.

Its all good I tell myself but then another and another.. “why is my brain and mouth so disconnected?!”

I had to improvise to keep up with the rapidly changing slides and then, it was over.

All I could do was hope I had conveyed my message adequately as all I could remember was a blur.

Stretch?! Stretch!!@ I felt like a rubber band.

And it was amazing.

The talk was not word for word. I missed points and forgot some words that conveyed my message just so, and yet, the message was heard.

Why am I sharing? Because we all turn into crazy people when we are stretched.

Stepping outside of what we are use to has an incredible ability to turn my mind at least to complete moosh even when in an area I know like the back of my hand. So why put myself through it?

1. I’m kind of crazy in general and find it fun

2. Because that is the only way to make the “outside,” “inside.” The unknown, known. It’s the only way to become truly proficient in life is to have an ability to stretch and compress as needed for our continual development.

3. No one else knows what you meant to sound like/do, only you have that comparison.

See for yourself…