(I go onto the stage with 3 balls in hand and start juggling.While still juggling I start)Good afternoon , Ladies and Gentlemen. Why am I doing this? (then deliberately dropping the last ball, showing that I could have easily caught it) or this?
I can see a handful of reasons (I count 4 without using the middle finger).The first, the most obvious yet the most irrelevant is to show off my new talent. The second is in response to Manoj's evaluation to my ice breaker last week. He told me I kept my hands clasped and what better way to free them but to juggle.Speaking about ice breaker and slowly moving towards relevant reasons. I think it is a sound reasoning that if I could properly juggle balls on this sacred stage, juggling sentences while speaking would be easy. The fourth and the most relevant reason at least for today is that I want to convincingly prove to you that it is better to show than to tell.
For those who are wondering why I did not show my middle finger while counting. I have stopped showing that finger after some bad and violent incident in my life.
"Show not tell". Novelists and story writers have known this tool for long. That is why when you read a good novel , you can actually see a movie running in you head. As far as the speakers are concerned the closest thy have been to showing is power point presentation. And it is an irony that the novels really SHOW by using mere words, but majority of speakers end up TELLING when they use infinite bullets on the slide, which can be a great show medium. If you see the launch of Microsoft by Bill Gates and that of Macintosh by Steve Jobs, you will know the difference.In Gates' speech he lists all the technical things microsoft has without ever showing them. Steve jobs on the other hand launches apple on a dark stage with two follower spotlights. One on himself , another on a small computer on the other side of the stage. While Steve Jobs is speaking about mac, mac is actually doing stuff like talking writing letters etc.It is a must see for good speakers wannabees like everyone here.
I have several examples to share on this, but bounded by time I would be able to share only some. I also apologize for all my examples being a little related to acads, because that is what my life has revolved around till now.But rest assured this concept applies everywhere.
I love Physics and there is a problem book by a Russian named Irodov. It has problems tougher than any other book on Physics ever written. I tried to attempt a question from that book one fine evening. I tried the question for the whole evening, the night , even the next morning, and then truly frustrated went to our physics teacher whom we petnamed "Ninja". Every IITian knows about him. As soon as he heard my problem he did this.If this is the problem(arms stretched)you have to do this (and do that compression waala thing), take the problem to the elementary level, find the crux. Like other teachers, he could have just said look for the basics, find the root. But because he did that, everytime I face a problem and not only a physics problem,but any problem in life, a video showing him do this runs in my head. He made a direct impact on my memory.
Showing causes a direct impact on the memory of another person. Showing a weird and typical picture more so. Like doing this or this(Repeating the previous gestures). Just like I did today.I have without your consent, directly bonded with your memory. You cannot forget that a person actually juggled in a speech at toastmasters, and deliberately dropped the last ball, even when he could have easily catched it.You cannot forget it till death or Alzheimer's. May god forbid anything like that happening.
So isn't showing impressive?
So Show not Tell.I would like to make you drive this point home by giving you a last example. At Caltech university, 200 first year Physics students assembled in a classroom for their first lecture. Instead of a professor there was this huge metal ball,half the size of the one used for demolition, hanging at the precise centre of the class through a metal chain. Nobody knew why. Prof Feynman entered the class, silently held the ball and carried it to the board. Rested on the board,touched the ball to his nose and left it. It started to swing towards the back wall of the class. It swooshed by the students, barely touched the wall and came back again at tremendous speed towards feynman face. But when the ball reached Feynman it kissed his nose and went back. He said "This was to show that I believe in what I teach". It could have just said that, but by demonstrating via this silly , weird but typical experiment. He engraved his words forever.
Friday, September 25, 2009
My second speech
Here is my second speech at toastmasters. I must say it is the most constructive entertainment, and the best place to take your creativity out.