I studied to be a civil engineer. Although I don’t practice it anymore, I take immense happiness and pride in being one. I’ve had the good fortune to be involved in the construction of India’s first indigenous nuclear power plant, corporate parks, residential buildings and more. The variety of projects gave me a broad view on the development stages of a structure. I have been on the field; I’ve been in planning rooms. No matter what you build, every idea begins on paper. All the discussion you do, eventually leads to a blueprint that gives the direction to the whole project. While the details are unnecessary to someone outside the industry, they are the fundamental blocks in erecting any structure.
A performance too, is made up of many building blocks. The detailing with which you invest your efforts in the unglamorous parts, decides the final output of a performance. It is the things that people don’t see, that go into making of a great structure or a fabulous performance.
Imagine a beautiful structure that you admire. It could be a bridge, a museum, an airport, a fancy residential building, a massive commercial complex, or something else. It is a sight to behold. Any construction project requires immaculate planning and equally top notch execution. As a layman, you may not be concerned with the quality and quantity of mortar, buckling load, the quantity of steel, depth of plinth, cover block for slab and beam, modulus of elasticity and other technical things. However, you are definitely concerned with the final output. A developer can show you fancy projections in a brochure, but their credibility is decided by how far the final structure is from the blueprint, one project at a time.
Similarly, your speaking engagement either as an emcee, TV Host, keynote or a TEDx speaker, requires planning and equally great execution. Like any structure is built bit by bit over a period of time, a great performance too is built over time. The client or audience is not concerned about your preparation process, your opening lines, the preparation of your delivery, the timing of your joke or your sleep schedule; all they want is a fantastic show. They want a great seamless show. While the audience is smitten with the speaker, only the people involved in the process of the performance maybe aware of your drill and efforts. Not everyone realizes just how crucial those small things are.
My degree imparted some crucial skills in me. Things like analytical thinking, handling stressful situations, course correcting and bringing a project back on track, are approaches that come in handy every time I am stage as a master of ceremonies or a speaker.
Here are my 11 learnings from the field of Civil Engineering to that of Anchoring: