Seven days ago today, I was making final preparations for the biggest public speaking event of my life. The next day (Nov 9th, 2016) I was going to go on stage in front of 19,000 people and deliver what I hoped would be a funny and light-hearted talk on the future of tech. (To the degree that a talk about bots, A.I. and machine learning can be funny and light-hearted).
I had prepared for months, because as it turns out, public speaking does not come easily to me. And giving a humorous talk is even harder. For the days leading up to the event, I pretended like I was an olympic athlete, planning it all out. What I ate. What time I went to bed. What time I got up. I was getting ready for The Big Day.
That fateful night, I stayed up until 4:15 a.m. doing the exact thing I had promised myself I would not do: watch the elections on TV. Why did I do it? Because I couldn’t not.
The next morning, with less than 4 hours of sleep, I told myself: “Self, you need to pull yourself together.” I had crafted my presentation to be full of hope and love and laughter. But, it was really hard to be full of hope, and love and laughter.
Here was the 3rd slide in my deck:
Somehow, I did manage to pull it together. I delivered the talk I had prepared and more importantly, I delivered the message I had hoped to deliver.
Here’s the talk, in case you’re curious about what happens when an introvert running on 4 hours of sleep delivers a talk to 19,000 people.