TEDxDirigo invited me to leap…I did

Posted by A. Smith on Feb-1-2012

I am a TED fan. And, I sometimes do things on a whim. This can be a dangerous combination. A month or two ago, I received a newsletter from TEDxDirigo. I scanned it and noticed a link to an upcoming workshop: “Give the Talk of Your Life.” I clicked on it, thought, “jump,” and without a moment’s hesitation registered. I could grow my wings on the way down, after all.

I forwarded the e-mail to a friend, conned her into signing up, and felt victory in knowing we snagged two of only 12 spots that sold out in a day. I was psyched. Then, reality sunk in and a little voice in me started whispering, “What the heck were you thinking?” This voice got louder when we were assigned homework, which included identifying our “big idea” and developing a two-minute presentation.

What’s a girl to do when she’s in over her head? Procrastinate, of course. That’s exactly what I did. I started to think about my “big idea” less than a week before the workshop. Then, with only a few days remaining, I began to scurry – jotting notes, mapping out ideas, and finally writing my piece.

I was ready. Okay, kind of ready. At the very least, I figured I’d learn a thing or two. And, I did. I learned a lot. The lesson that struck me the most was when one of our facilitators said, “Your audience is always having a virtual dialog with you.” I realized giving a presentation isn’t about being on stage. It’s about connecting with your audience on a very authentic level. It’s about having a conversation as if they were sitting right next to you.

Something happens when we trade spaces and move from chair to stage. But it shouldn’t. Giving a great talk is not simply about great content. It’s also about creating intimacy whether with hundreds of people attending a TEDx event or one person curled up on a couch watching a talk after the fact. It’s about intentionality and connection.

Perhaps what hit home with me the most about this workshop, however, was the unspoken. The powerful feeling of community and support, the positive energy that filled the room, and the amazing people who, along with me, decided to grow their wings on the way down.

I left my TEDx workshop experience filled with gratitude. And, I look forward to the next time my passion for TED and my spontaneity collide. Who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll take the stage!

Add A Comment