Behind The Scenes of Andrew’s TEDx Tiny House Talk
Andrew has done a lot of presentations over the years but none quite like this TEDx one. He is one of these rare personalities that can easily get up in front of a crowd with very little preparation and without a formal presentation (slides or cheat sheets) and give an amazing and powerful talk. I on the other hand need to have everything prepared weeks in advance with tons of cards and slides, and even then, my knees knock and my voice shakes in fear so I honestly have no idea how he does it! This TEDx presentation however was a whole other beast for Andrew. For the first time in his life he had to memorize an entire presentation and not just that, he had to make sure it wasn’t a second over 18 minutes (TED’s very strict limit). After about 4 days in a hotel room memorizing the talk though, he felt prepared. Until he actually got to the venue on the day of.
Per instructions, we arrived a few hours before his presentation even though he was second to last on the schedule. This request by the organizers was understandable being that they were orchestrating a massive production and all in front of a sold out crowd. Andrew decided to spend some of his extra time by watching some presentations but this turned out to be the worst thing he could have done. A couple that he watched were so nervous and gripped by stage fright that they nearly botched their talks. For the first time ever, Andrew began to feel a sense of nervousness brewing in his abdominal region.
Realizing that watching seasoned presenters fall to the grips of fear wasn’t helping him in the least, he removed himself from the audience and retreated to the speaker only area (where the presentations were not being displayed on monitors or over a PA system). Unfortunately though, the mood wasn’t any calmer down there. A few presenters were pacing or generally looking anxious. So Andrew sat back in a lounge chair, closed his eyes, and began to visualize the talk in his mind. Rather than finding comfort in his memorized talk though, he was greeted in his mind by a blank slate: he couldn’t remember where his talk went after the second slide. Unfortunately, this happened just 15 minutes before his presentation was supposed to begin and right when the AV point person called him to get his mic set up. He excused himself to her and said calmly, “I don’t want to alarm you but there is something I have to go do” and quickly walked off, leaving her stammering, “Where are you going??”
In the meantime, our daughter and I were sitting in the audience watching the presentation before Andrew’s, completely unaware of all that had been going on for Andrew. I heard a distinct “pssst!!” sound to my side (I was about four seats in from the aisle) and was surprised to see Andrew gesturing for me to come to him. I popped out of my seat and rushed over and was shocked to hear Andrew say that he needed to run out to the car to grab his presentation notes because he couldn’t remember a part of his talk. I responded in probably the worst way possible and laughed, partly because I couldn’t believe that he had run out on the AV point person and partly because the one person on this planet that had never had a drop of stage fright was suddenly in the same boat as the rest of humanity. “Welcome to my world!!” I exclaimed as we ran out to the car to grab the notes. He made it back with barely enough time for me to give him a good luck kiss and hug.
You can imagine how nervous I was when they introduced Andrew just a couple of minutes later and how incredibly relieved I felt when he got out there and looked as calm as a cucumber. The audience response was fantastic and my heart welled with happiness and pride that it was my husband up there. As you know, behind every one of these presentations, there is a back story. This is what ours looked like! As I am writing this Andrew is sitting next to me and when I asked if he would do it again, he said enthusiastically, “Yes!”. In response to my question of “Would you do anything differently?”, he said “No”, but then a moment later added on, “Well, maybe I would bring my notes next time!”
LINK TO WATCH ANDREW’S TEDx TINY HOUSE TALK