Taking the TEDx leap

TEDxFortMcMurray is coming up on September 20th with the theme of "Pioneering".  Presenter hopefuls are going through the mental process of figuring out what to put in their applications and imagining what the auditions are going to be like.  In my experience (from 2012), the entire process was amazing, from beginning to end, though not without moments of sheer terror.

Someone very close to me has applied and has peppered me with lots of questions:  "Do we have to do the whole presentation at the audition?", "What do the judges look for?", and "What am I going to say?" are several that I've heard in recent days.

While I had some of my presentation solidified by the audition, it was far from finished.  And as a coach for one of last year's presenters, I can assure you that the shape of the talk can and does change as you near the rehearsal dates.

"What the Organizing Committee likes about this year's theme, is that it's really a conversation about moving forward - something our community is undergoing every single day," said Matt Youens (pictured with me below - he was my coach), Chair of the TEDxFortMcMurray event. "Whether the pioneering is from a scientific, artistic, or even personal perspective - it's completely up tot he Presenters to interpret and deliver."

Looking back on my experience what stands out for me as lessons learned?

I found the process of getting the visuals for the presentation a little stressful.  I either had to have permission to use the photos or grab shots that were royalty free.  I was so scared of screwing up on something that simple.

Coming in under the allotted time of no more than 18 minutes was a challenge.  I almost used all my time on the day of the actual event.  The good news is that they put this big countdown clock in front of you so you can clearly see how much time you have left.

Starting strong is key.  I made a last minute decision waiting in the wings to adjust my opening remarks.  It made all the difference in the world, as it got a laugh right off the top and the tension in my body dissipated completely.

Trust the process.  All the angst you will feel going through this process is normal, purposeful and generative.  You will rise to the occasion, despite your greatest fears, and deliver the talk of your life.  Over the last two iterations of TEDxFortMcMurray, every single presenter has proven this.

Want to apply?  Click here.

Want to talk to someone who has experienced the dream of TEDx?  There are a lot of us who would happily sit down with you.

If you have a story to tell, of pioneering and moving forward; if your body is telling you that this is your time, then GO FOR IT!  You will be glad you did.


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