Lessons Learned from TEDx

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I started speaking in local libraries and organizations when I opened my business in 2010. It was during this time, the idea for my TEDx talk was formed and the goal of speaking on the TEDx stage was added to my bucket list. It finally happened on March 19, 2022. Each phase of the experience was exciting,  humbling and filled with lessons I wanted to share with you.

The application process for TEDx… Don’t Quit!
I have applied to a number of TEDx events before with no acceptance. However, when the TEDx Williamsport, PA event was announced with the designated theme of InterconnecTED, I had a hope that my talk would be a good fit so, I applied. Again.
Within two weeks, I received an email from the TEDx team. They wanted to learn more about my talk idea with a 5-minute audition which would be judged via Zoom.
Within a few days of that audition, an email in my inbox invited me back for a second audition with a new set of judges. Again, a 5-minute sneak peek of my talk idea was requested. I used the same script from the previous audition.
One week later, an email in my inbox stated: “We just completed a Leadership Meeting, and we are thrilled to offer you a formal speaking slot at TEDx Williamsport!”

Lesson learned: Goals are easy to create. We can write them down, envision them, pray on them and dream of them. Remember, don’t quit on them.

The writing and delivery process….The Value of Words.
All TEDx talks are required to be 18 minutes or less in length. This limitation demands an efficient use of words to clearly convey your message. There is no time for fluff language. Literally.
For nearly 8 months, every day, I spent time curating the content of my talk. Every word was selected with intention. I continued to review and refine the script right up until one week of the talk date.

Lesson learned: Words can teach, praise, spread love or hate, inspire, discourage, calm or incite. We should always choose words with care and thoughtful consideration.

The big day…. Preparation Pays Off.
I rehearsed my talk every day. I worked on my cadence, the intonation of each word and pause, each step and hand gesture. However, I overlooked a minor but essential item for this event…what the heck was I going to wear? Options included: heels or flats, a dress or pants, a blouse, sweater or layers, jewelry and eyeglass choices came into play. I was grateful for the chance to channel some of my nervous energy into this frivolous decision. The time I invested into my talk preparation allowed me to fully focus on a day-of-event ensemble.

Lesson learned: Time spent planning and preparing any task is time well spent.

We have opportunities for learning lessons everyday – we just need to look, be open and invite them in.

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