It was obvious my speech title should be E=MC2. The Toastmaster announced the title and at that moment, before the introductory applause, I heard a murmur and stirring from the audience. Was it trepidation or anticipation? I wasn’t sure.
I opened by reassuring the audience that by the end of the evening they would have a better understanding of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity – they didn’t seem too sceptical and they didn’t laugh; my speech had started well!
Thinking back, when I opened the manual and came to this speech I wondered where I would start. It was the last speech in my ‘Speaking to Inform’ manual, which would assure me of achieving my ‘Advanced Communicator Bronze’ award. The subject was ‘The Abstract Concept’ a subject that many speakers have pondered over for ages before me I am sure. The manual directed me to create a speech explaining a theory, principle, philosophy or social issue – what should I do? In the examples, the only one that jumped out off the page was Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. I have always been interested in science and I did study physics so could I pull this off? It was a massive challenge but I decided to give it my best shot.
The initial research was easy. I just dumped information from the internet and consulted a book I had, but much of it was complicated and not that useable. To explain a complicated and abstract theory using examples of boats on rivers or moving railway carriages as my research had done didn’t cut it for me. I wanted to bring it to life and involve my audience somehow. So I wrapped the theory in little stories using club members as part of the examples.
I thought that our Sgt@Arms, Julie, being on the International Space Station travelling at 18,000 mph would be something that the audience would remember, especially Julie. I described Thomas playing with mirrors on an aircraft whilst on holiday and our club president,Mary, looking into the aircraft from the ground seeing something entirely different, from her point of view. The audience seemed more engaged that I had hoped – my plan was working.
I finished off with Captain Kirk’s well-known instruction – ‘Beam me up Scottie’ and reminded the audience that in a way Einstein gave us Star Trek!
My final call to action was to save on the face cream. Why try to look younger when you could jump into a spacecraft, travel at ultra-high speeds and actually become younger (at least compared to the rest of us)?
This was my most challenging speech to date, yet it has become the most enjoyable one to present. It took some effort, and at times as I drafted it I wasn’t happy with the content, until I found a magic formula and it came together – after which I was gratified to receive a lot of positive feedback. Maybe it won’t be long before the next speech: anyone for a helping of Schrodinger’s Cat!?
(PS: S2I=ACB: Speaking to Inform = Advanced Communicator Bronze!)