There never has been security. No man has ever known what he would meet around the next corner;
if life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavour.
Harsh words, those, especially for those of us who like to be prepared.
“Never.” … “There never has been security.”
Still, we try to achieve it as much as we can,
prepare for all eventualities,
do our best to avoid the embarrassment of fumbling for an answer, for forgotten words, for a prepared logical flow.
And yet we know, underneath, that what Eleanor Roosevelt said is entirely true.
There will always be the unpredictable.
And we will prepare for that too.
What about the flavour it brings though?
The flavour of life … the flavour of an unpredictable speaking experience.
I like to think that being a speaker operates on at least 3 levels.
There is me, you, the speaker.
There is what I call the eagle eye – the ability we have to watch ourselves and our audiences from above and evaluate how things are going, in order to adapt.
And then there is the concept that beside the conversation we are having with our audience is another experience, the shared experience of being together in a presentation.
We can leverage that with little moments of quirking an eyebrow at the audience as if to say “See what I did there?”, or less subtly discussing what is actually going on. We can create a shared experience in this level.
If the experience is unexpected, this is where we can really capitalise on that flavour Eleanor mentioned – enjoy the moment together with the audience,
forge a bond of shared experience,
of response to the unexpected
with humour, with pathos or with jointly created action.
So while those un-predictable events can be challenging, especially if we worry too much about them beforehand, or label them failures afterwards,
they can also be the source of some of the most powerful and enjoyable experiences a speaker can have.