In the world of TedX, there are no cue cards allowed.
Instead, you have to memorize your speech in its entirety. I used two methods in particular to do so. First, I wrote the speech by hand over and over and over…and over again. Second, I memorized it by working backwards, from end to start. I was taught the latter methodology when memorizing sheet music over the the course of 13 years of piano lessons. A strange, but effective technique.
I divided the speech into the following 6 sections: Introduction, personal history, my methodology, my workshops, my experiments, and the end. By compartmentalizing each part of the speech, I was able to memorize tidbits at a time, thereby ensuring that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by the enormity of a 15:00 monologue!
At the beginning of May, three weeks before my Tedx Talk, I gave my first run through in front of my mother. She was in the hospital for a little spill she had taken, so she was kind of forced to give me her full attention. I got it through it better than I had hoped…and so did she.
And, in the following weeks, I started to become my words. The speech was on continuous repeat in my head. If I tried to carry on long conversations with people, my speech would slowly creep in. That really made me feel confident for the big day.
I arrived in Paris on a Monday night, the week before my Saturday, May 20 performance. I purposely took Tuesday off, spending the day at a spa and catching up on sleep. By Wednesday, however, it was back to the grindstone of rehearing, rehearsing, rehearsing.
On Thursday, the producers of Tedx hired an acting coach for all 11 speakers in order to help us bond through the practice of heart opening exercises. We rehearsed the beginning and end of our speeches in front of each, which genuinely put us at ease.
It was at this time that I was very grateful to have taken 2 voice over classes and acting lessons, which prepared me to present my speech in the best possible light; heartfelt and with a dash of conviction.
On the day before everything unfolded, we had technical rehearsal at the theater and practiced on stage with microphones and visual aids.
The Madeleine Theater was exquisite. We filled it to the brim on Saturday, easily reaching its 800 person capacity. Sitting in my cheering section were my husband and champion, Brian Murphy, my Event Manager Luke Yates, and my Coach, Ginny Slocum, plus a few writers from my workshops and retreats.
I took the stage on Saturday May 20, 2017 at 4pm and gave the speech of my life.
I can’t quite explain the feeling with words. I was looking forward to a sigh of relief, a breath that I could finally exhale now that it was over. However, my high was so high that it has taken weeks to come down.
Not surprisingly, I woke up both Sunday and Monday morning with my speech playing in my head, still rehearsing over, and over again.