Short story – Swami Vivekananda

Once Swami Vivekananda was invited to speak at an event.

In the overall schedule of events, there was 1.5 hours set aside for Swami Vivekananda’s speech.

The host conveyed this the schedule and the time slot for the event and Swami Vivekananda agreed to speak to the topic. He asked about the audience who would be attending and came to know that he was to speak to school children – teenagers.

After a few days, the host approached Swami Vivekananda and mentioned that there have a few changes to the schedule and his time slot was reduced to an hour. Swami Vivekananda thinks and answers that it would be fine and that he would spend some time to think about the topic before his speech.

Two days before the event, the host approached Swami Vivekananda and apologetically conveys that there had been another change to the event schedule and his speech time was reduced to 15 minutes. Swami Vivekananda thinks and responds that he would now need to spend a few hours thinking about the topic of his speech.

The host was confused. When Swami Vivekananda heard about the topic initially and was to speak about it for 1.5 hours, he immediately agreed. Whereas when the timing was reduced, he felt he needed more time to think about the topic and speak about it. He was to clear his confusion and asked him to explain the reason (Why would he need more time to prepare for a shorter speech).

Swami Vivekananda smiled and answered thus – For a longer speech, one gets time to set the context, talk about the topic, build its relevance and make the audience come to a consensus or understanding about the crux of the topic by the end of it. However, the audience here are teenage children who would be sitting through multiple sessions during the event. When I need to speak just for 15 minutes to the given topic, I need to convey it in a way that the lesson and its relevance are understood by them instantly.

Swami Vivekananda replied

I need to encapsulate my thoughts and wisdom gained over years, into a few coherent sentences to create the impact that the topic and event are meant to address. That takes time and preparation!

Swami Vivekananda

Being able to share wisdom gained over years, in a simple way is an art and a skill.

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