Inspire in 7 minutes – the Boost Your Inspiration experience

BYI - Episode 3

Last December, I had the honor of being invited to participate in the 3rd episode of Boost Your Inspiration. The challenge ? Share and inspire around a subject that is close to my heart... and all in 7 min!

I describe here my experience, my difficulties and my learnings.

If you want to find my talk: “Listening or the art of paying attention”. And if you prefer to read, here is the talk script ! 😉

The BYI experience

Between excitement and apprehension

Entre excitation et appréhension

When Amina contacted me to participate in this 3rd episode, I was truly torn between 2 emotions: excitement and apprehension. On the one hand, the lightning talk challenge has always interested me: succeed in being impactful in a minimum of time, with finesse and subtlety. On the other hand, the big question was whether I was capable of it!

People who know me might say to me: "But you're used to this sort of thing, you already do talks 45 minutes so 7 minutes should do it! Yes, well, that's what I told myself at first to give me courage, but that wasn't enough for me for very long!

In fact, at that time, I hosted a conference entitled "Stop the blabla" with Caroline Aupert. We were just talking about synthesis and big need for preparation to be able to send the right message straight to the point. So far be it from me the illusion of telling myself that speaking 45 minutes on a subject was comparable to speaking about it for 7 minutes!

Moreover, speaking of the subject, this was the great questioning that followed.

(You will understand, I was still much more apprehensive than excited! xD)

The choice of subject

In Boost Your Inspiration, there is “Inspiration”. So I wanted to choose a subject that could resonate in others and which would allow them toopen up perspectives. Besides, I had a few subjects that could have done the trick I think like:

But I didn't want to offer something that I had already done in the past. Indeed, I said to myself that to inspire, the subject had to be authentic, almost unique for the occasion, and staff. It must have been a subject that was close to my heart and that I will talk about with sincerity and humility.

So I left myself some time to see what was coming. And maybe that's the beauty of it. I decided to pay attention to what irritated me, saddened me but also that I admired.

In my professional life, I saw these meetings where the participants cut each other off. Games of power or theater of the company, each sought rather to to impose one's ideas rather than to communicate. It was frustrating and sad at the same time. Indeed, it prevented others from expressing themselves because they knew that they were not going to be listened to.

In my personal life, I saw couples break up and no longer manage to understand each other. Each spoke their own truth while blaming the other for not listening. But I have also seen couples capable of discuss their differences, their desires and their difficulties. I found it touching and unfortunately, from my window, so unusual.

This is how after about 4 months, I decided to talk about listening and to call my talk:

Listening or the art of paying attention

Discourse building

To be honest, it was particularly complicated at the start because I'm not used to script my speech. In general, I have a visual that I rely on and that reminds me of the main ideas. But this time, with only 7 minutes, I can't afford to play the cowboy! Moreover, I was invited to rather speak in front of the camera, for more authenticity and interactivity. Either.

After writing my first version of the script, it was time to put it through its paces: the timing. So I read it aloud, calmly and finally look at my stopwatch:

2 minutes 13 seconds !

I fall from the clouds. I feel like I've said it all and I'm barely a third of the allotted time! So I decide to go get myself a pain au chocolat to comfort myself and take my mind off things. On the way, I try to talk about my subject naturally, stopwatch in hand. I feel that I am hesitant, rough but I have things to say. I finally look at the duration of this improvised getaway:

9 minutes 8 seconds!

I finally understand what I was missing and that made all the difference: the examples.

The exercise of the script had made me deposit the theoretical notions which seemed important to me but without their grounded in reality. This also made the speech harder to remember while the example was based on a memory. So I reworked my script from this angle by adding pictures, of the anecdotes and personal experiences. I also made the effort towrite as I would speak rather than writing like… I would write!

Repetition

After managing the content aspect of the presentation, it was time to work on the form. So I practiced several times reading my script aloud, as naturally as possible. I felt good, comfortable and I really thought I could do it like that! But to be sure, I had to test it with someone I trusted.

When I finish my performance, rather happy with myself, I look forward to the debrief:

I like the content and the messages but it means that you read.

I don't recognize the "Olivier" of the conferences I'm used to hearing.

– Trusted person 🙂

The illusion falls away. I will have to learn my text ! Then will follow nearly fifty rehearsals of the talk while walking in my apartment, in the street, in the parks… All of this, of course, while refining, modifying and simplifying the content. The idea then becomes see what comes and D'go with the flow.

All that was left for me was to practice in front of the camera for the big day. This last point was surprisingly easier than expected. Indeed, I sent a version to Amina and Farida as well as to the other speakers of the episode for get feedback. The feedback was quite good, the advice gave perspectives. Besides that, I felt good.

I thus continued the rehearsals in front of the camera this time until big leap of December 7, 2021 ! 😉

(Spoiler: it went well and I had a lot of fun :-))

Learnings

This experience was full of twists and turns and intense emotions. However, I grew up with many learnings, here are some of them:

  • There is no doubt, the exercise is not easy. There preparation is key and is valid for 90% of the result.
  • Choose a subject that is close to our hearts is fundamental. It's not so much the subject that creates the inspiration, but the passion that we will have to talk about.
  • It is very difficult not to show that you are reading a text, so it is better not to! :-p Do not read his text, it is to oblige oneself to stay simple while being oneself through a structured spontaneity !
  • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.
  • Although we may feel alone, we never really are and a outside help is always useful.
  • Nobody forced you to be there, so might as well to have fun 🙂

I therefore strongly invite you to try the experience of lightning talk as it is learning and enriching! Indeed, it is a time when we have the spotlight on ourselves, but it is above all the time when we talk about a subject that is close to our hearts and which we share our passion to others. It's finally deliver a bit of yourself, for 7 minutes 🙂

So, if you are still hesitant and want to discuss it, do not hesitate to contact me. It will be a pleasure to exchange with you on this subject 🙂

Thanks again to Amina and Farida for their trust and to the other speakers for their kindness!

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Picture of Olivier MY

Olivier MY

Trained as an engineer and passionate about people, I quickly turned to the world of Agile coaching and Professional coaching. Today, I support individuals, teams and organizations towards creating value adapted to the constraints and challenges of today's world. I am committed to contributing to the professionalization of the profession, in particular through detailed feedback and inspirations highlighting the importance of an open, curious and respectful posture.

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