He felt a pressure in his chest.
Like an invisible weight crushing his sternum.
Although he was used to it.
The great hall, bursting with more than two hundred people. On the podium, the master of ceremonies was introducing him; he would be giving a speech in a few minutes.
He didn’t usually prepare his talks. He had the ability to talk about almost any subject, in an improvised way, and be successful.
It was a personal strategy to stimulate his adrenaline; The only thing he decided in the days before each event was the subject of the speech.
This time he planned to play it safe: He was going to give his “Mendel Talk”, or the compilation of a series of anecdotes of Gregor Mendel, who discovered the laws of genetic inheritance.
Why did he feel so nervous?
Simply, because the more clever his introduction was, the more pressure he felt on his performance. On the expectations of the public.
On maintaining his decades-old reputation.
This master of ceremonies, in particular, was showing off when talking about him.
He was reviewing the structure of the speech in his head when a man on his right leaned towards him, whispering:
– We’re looking forward to your talk, Doctor.
He felt it was hard for him to breathe, so he asked:
– How do you know you will like it?
– Because I’ve already heard you at the Gordon Research Conference. You gave a talk about Mendel.
His throat dried instantly.
Discreetly, he straightened in his chair.
– About… about Mendel? —He began to look around nervously. —”Did Anyone else here attended that conference?”
– Yes of course. Almost everyone —was the answer.
It was like feeling seven million pins coming out of his pores. His adrenal glands woke up in an immediate tunnel vision.
He had only three minutes to think about a totally different topic than he had planned.
As always, he came out graceful; but not without having sweated colder than usual.
Years later, every time he remembered that anecdote, his forehead was pearled again with cold sweat.
The speaker was Isaac Asimov; Of course, being a voracious reader of all kinds of topics helped him generate ideas in almost any situation.
But still, he felt that anguish before speaking to an audience (and he would never forget that night!).
Now, I’m going to ask you to put a three minute timer on your mobile.
It’s your time to shine.
You have (less than) three minutes to put together a speech that you will improvise for an hour to two hundred people.
A very important detail:
Your audience did not come *for the topic you will choose*.
Your audience came *for you*.
The question (which only you can answer) is:
What will that topic be?
Think about this for a few minutes, and then ask yourself the question that really hurts:
Did you choose the subject because you thought the public would be interested… or because you trust your ability to print passion for a full hour?
There is a big difference.
Because most of us spend a disproportionate amount of years choosing a ‘topic’ based on the fragile attention of others.
The reason? We have too much time to let it sit in our mind, which is always a problem.
That’s the good thing about having only three minutes.
You don’t have time to rationalize it.
You can’t give it too much thought.
You will choose the subject with your guts.
You are going to choose *your* topic.
Our main problem is that we believe that we have plenty of time (and end up postponing our topic indefinitely).
What if instead of having plenty of time, you had only three years?
Or three months?
Or three minutes?
You are here to make a statement.
You are here to be heard.
You are here to make people put their mobile phones away.
What is that topic that will pulse in their souls?
Only you know it.
Because it’s yours.
I wish you the greatest success,
Jesus Enrique Rosas
– I can read your body language and write a story about it.