Recently I was invited to speak at TEDxUpperEastSide. New York City baby! I eagerly accepted. Then later that night the realization hit…THIS BETTER BE GOOD. It does not matter where you have spoken, how many times, or how big the audience. If you get asked to deliver a TED or TEDx talk, you take it seriously.
Some speakers have an amazing story of having accomplished something extraordinary such as Croix Sather who broke the world record in the Badwater Solo Self-Contained Crossing ultra-marathon. Other speakers have a talent or skill that viewers are on the edge of their seat to learn such at Sid Efromovich. But when your idea worth spreading is drawn from the intangible field of motivation, the conviction that the world is sitting at home anxiously awaiting your message is not as strong.
As you begin writing your TED or TEDx speech–ignore the doubt and enjoy the process! I hope my process encourages you to take the leap as well.
Tip 1: Enjoy the Journey
The creative process is excruciating; revel in the delicious pain. I wrote a beautiful speech. Two days later, I ripped it up. Then I wrote another. Ripped it up. Then another. Shredded to pieces. Came up with the masterpiece. I presented it for a local Toastmasters Group. During the evaluations the consensus was unanimous that I should change the theme to…. the one in the original speech I had written and destroyed.
Tip 2: Ask for Help
Since I needed help, I reached out to friends in my public speaking network who graciously offered their feedback and encouragement. One of them brought a video camera to one of my rehearsals. I found it invaluable to see and hear the difference between what I thought I presented and how I actually came across.
All of this practice, input, adaptation and additional practice leads me to recall a great quote by the famous dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, “Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”
Tip 3: Let Go and Fly
Even up until the day of the event, I did not feel fully confident and ready. But there came a moment when I walked into the beautiful Bohemian National Hall in NYC and felt the positive energy of the audience. Then, I took a conscious breath and let go. There comes a point in every process after you have prepared as best you can when you must let go of your attachment to the outcome and simply be in the present moment. That moment of confidence, peace, and breath is where greatness lies if you let it. Too few people fully embrace those moments. But it is, indeed, an important part of the process.
As you navigate your TED talk, strive to reach a career goal, or encounter any life challenge, the ability you have to enjoy the journey, ask for help, and let go enough to be in the moment will help immensely. My support and encouragement to you in your process.
Heather Hansen O’Neill is an award winning speaker, TV show host, and the author of Find Your Fire and Teams on Fire. More info on Heather can be found at www.fireinfive.com.