It’s hard to believe but the Sunday that’s just been I was on a stage in front of around 300 people giving a TEDx talk. This post is about my experience about it.

What is a TEDx?

Well, they are independently run TED events, and if you don’t know what TED is, then you really need to get over to TED.com and start watching some awesome talks. There is something for everyone, covering all sorts of topics, and to be able to do a TEDx talk is quite special, they are all up to a high standard and TED has to approve videos before they end up on their site.

So, what did I talk about?

Well lots of people thought I was going to be talking about giant pumpkins, and at this point in time that is what I am known more for, but….. it turns out I was talking about something completely different, I was talking about NZ Secret Santa, something I started a long time ago, back in 2010 to be exact.

How do you apply to be a TEDx speaker?

It’s a combination of people applying with a brief video of the talk they want to give, and other people being approached by the organisers. For me it was more of the latter, Chris, my flatmate who I podcast with, and is also the speaker coach for TEDx Ruakura came home from a meeting, and said “it had nothing to do with me, but you’re doing a talk on NZ Secret Santa for TEDx” it turned out last year there was a lot of global media mentions around NZ Secret Santa, and it had come up in a very early meeting.

I was in two minds about doing a talk, firstly I sometimes forget that I even started NZ Secret Santa, it seems so long ago and I ran it for the first 3 years and NZ Post has been doing it ever since, the other part was I would have been a lot more comfortable talking about giant pumpkins. Now I’m not sure what the giant pumpkin talk would have been, and I’m not sure I would have been able to put together a complete talk, but looking back after having done a TEDx talk, I think they would have both been similar with a similar kind of message.

I also mentioned to Chris that my only real concern was that I might piss him off or vice versa, as being a speaker coach is one thing, but being a flatmate and podcast host is another, when you see the other person almost daily, it could make things a bit strange. But… it turns out it didn’t, and Chris is really good at speaker coaching, and he really should sort his shit out and do more of it, if you are after some coaching training for any talk you may have coming up, make sure to check out his website www.chrishanlon.nz

So, where’s the video?

It will be coming, there were 9 speakers in total, all that video has to be edited and submitted to TED to approve, once that happens they will be put up and I will share it all over the place.

In the meantime, you can check out my vlog I shot about TEDx last year:.

I was thinking of doing another vlog in the lead up to this but just got super busy all at once. But I am thinking of doing some more vlogs soon, so keep an eye out for them.

Advice for potential speakers

  • If you have a story you want to share, do it. It could possibly be one of the best things you ever do.
  • Listen to what the coaches tell you, no matter how many talks you have given before, the stuff they tell you is important.
  • You will need to put in a lot of work and when you think you are ready, you probably aren’t. Keep working on it.
  • Don’t let anything small setbacks get you down, stuff happens, and the trick is to learn how to deal with setbacks.

After the talk:

My talk overall went well, for me it was a lot better doing the talk in front of a lot of people, on a stage instead of a lecture room with a couple of people. I had a small hiccup with the slides, and I had a small stumble at the end, where to me it felt like I had left out a huge chunk of my speech, but in reality, I was overthinking it. Hopefully, it will all come out good on the edit of the video.

The other speakers were awesome, and it was great to go through the experience with a great bunch of people, who no doubt will be doing other amazing things and I look forward to seeing what get up to.

Not all the speakers were able to make it to the in person sessions, so it felt a bit different meeting them at the rehearsal the day before, and some of those talks I haven’t even heard yet, I’ll have to check the videos when they come out.

What now?

Well for me, I think I will be carrying on with the projects and things I want to be working with, I hope my talk helps inspire people out there to give things a go and see where they can take them, because that’s all I’ve been doing for a long time now, and if I don’t know how to do something, I start learning how to do it. I hope to help point people in the right direction with whatever they are trying to achieve, and whatever happens I’m sure I’ll be documenting in some way.