How to be selected to do a TEDx talk!
I’ve always wanted to do a TEDx talk, it’s been a bit like the ultimate speakers dream for me. If you can give a good TEDx talk then you can do pretty much anything as a speaker. I also regard it as being a huge privilege to be allowed to air my ideas on such a prestigious stage, how incredibly lucky am I? What I hadn’t realised, as I watched endless talks by an incredibly diverse range of people though, was the amount of hard work and effort it required to get to the stage where the talk could be delivered effectively and concisely. With only 18 minutes maximum with which to make your point, there is no time for anything not relevant to ones main message.
I’ve always wanted to see my name next to this logo!!
So, for a free speaker like me, that creates a bit of a challenge! I don’t follow a script, I know what I want to say, I know how I want to say it and I just get out there and deliver it. As a speaker, you always have to work to a set time frame, no matter what or where you’re speaking but a couple of minutes over is normally not much of an issue. With TEDx, you have to know you’ll be within the 18 minute time frame. Your talk can be shorter, but not longer!
First of all, you have to have, what is regarded by the Curators, to be ‘an idea worth sharing’, and then there’s the application process, TED‘s themselves issue the licences for people to be able to organise local TEDx events under their strict guidance and rules and regulations. These must be adhered to at all costs. So, having been told about the talks by Jo from Spaghetti Agency, I started the process. First of all the application form with a very brief summary of the subject I wanted to talk about. Having been selected to move along to the next stage, I then had to put together an A4 sheet of how the actual talk would look. A challenge in itself as my chosen subject could easily become a book, but at least they felt my idea was, ‘worth sharing’!
Having then been selected to be in the final 17, it was a case of writing the talk in full and then videoing myself actually doing it.
Now then, this is a strange one! Put me in front of 100’s of people, give me a microphone and a stage and I’m off, with not a whiff of nerves present, put me in front of an iPad that’s recording me and I fall to pieces! A very strange feeling I have to say, after all, the iPad can’t critique me. Sadly though, I’m my own worst critic and this was me, filming me, and the outcome was never going to be a happy one.
I watched it back and hated it. I’m not sending that was my decision and the deadline for pre-selection feedback was drawing ever closer, making it more and more imperative that I got my act together. Finally, I bit the bullet and did one take and decided that I would have to roll with it and hope they sympathised with me!
We met up and they gave me their feedback and I went away and honed the talk even further, and once again, found myself having to ‘bite the bullet’ and send over the talk, knowing that the final one I delivered on the day would be quite different, not in subject matter, but in the way I presented it.
The agony of waiting!
Then, agonising days of waiting to hear if I’d been selected to actually speak at the event. Forever checking my email was probably not the best idea but I couldn’t help myself, I was so desperate to know. And then, finally, on Wednesday evening, an email arrived telling me to ‘High Five’! I was on the final speaker list!!
Nothing can describe my elation at hearing the news and I was bouncing off the ceiling for a good 24 hours. I’ve landed a bit now, so the real hard work starts here, getting the talk honed to perfection, I don’t want to give a good talk, I want to give a great talk!
So, a huge “Thank You!” to the TEDx Leamington Spa curators who have all worked so incredibly hard to bring TEDx to Leamington Spa. They’re a brilliant team to work with and it’s a real privilege to have met them and be chosen to speak at their event.
How to get Tickets
The tickets are very limited so, if you want to go, you’re going to have to act quickly and get on their subscribers list as they will have an option to purchase tickets before being opened to the general public. This is going to be a great event with so many diverse speakers and entertainment, and when will you ever get the opportunity to go to another one? Possibly never!