TEDx 2022

It finally happened!

The TEDx talk I was supposed to give in 2020, happened on March 23rd in Charleston, SC. I was one of 14 speakers in this live event! 

It’s been a long road to get to this point with all the ups and downs you might expect.

I initially struggled with communicating my idea without it sounding like an academic research paper. The pandemic actually benefited me. It gave me more time to think about how to convey the message in a conversational tone and to “kill my darlings” as they say. Good talks have a few threads, and my previous version was trying to do too much. Also I was using academic language which not good for a public audience.

Once I got the content and story elements sorted out then I had to figure out gestures and pacing. I needed a lot of coaching. These are critical elements for keeping an audience engaged. I now appreciate those subtle elements of talk preparation that heavily influence the message getting across.

A month before the event we participated in a walk through. I gave my talk on the stage to the coaches and other speakers. It was nerve wracking, but I felt so accomplished after having done it. However, I was still nervous about the big event.  

I ended up taking a week long break from my talk preparations and it was one of the best things I could have done. Over that time I reflected on my research and teaching efforts that led up to this moment. I was so focused on problem-solving that I had not realized I had done some really great work that had a real impact. This reflection revitalized my commitment to getting up on that stage and giving this talk.

It is amazing to me how much I learn about my own work when I have to communicate it to others. I have noticed this with writing, presentations and conversations, and now with TEDx.

Although I was both nervous and excited, I did it!  And it went really well!  Thank you so much to my coaches Sewell and Michael!  Without your endless support along the way I wouldn’t have been able to be so successful.  


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