After speaking at TEDx Derby in 2014, I was approached by organiser Christine Cawthorne to mentor the speakers for the 2015 event. I was honoured to take up the challenge…
Speaking before an audience is often quoted as one of the top ten scariest things you can do. I’ve seen people quite literally quaking in their boots, but actually there is little to fear if you follow a few simple rules. Speaking clearly, with your own powerful stories, research and findings will grab any audiences attention. Speak with your audience, not too them, engage their emotions, smile, and enjoy the experience.
One thing TEDx is not, is a political debate. Our news channels are presently filled to bursting with election reports, which can be loud, involve heckling, detailed scrutiny and generally (in my view) switch much of the public off. Few, if any enthuse the population to rush off to a polling station and make their mark. At TEDx we want to switch people on, engage with them and enthuse them. Like politicians we need opinions, but I feel that we are better making them quietly, with powerful statements, rather than banging on down a microphone.
The audience is also very different. They attend TEDx to be amazed. Most people attend a political debate to support or subdue in huge quantities. Passion exist in both arenas, but I know where i’d rather be.
I’d met with as many speakers as possible before the event, and listened to their stories. Many had wonderful tales to tell, with heart wrenching moments that made your nerves come alive. These make the best presentations, but delivery is everything. The worlds best adventure is useless if delivered badly. You could have survived shipwreck, cured cancer or walked to mars, but a monotone voice would make them sound ordinary (and doing a Magnus Pyke might be going too far..!)
The day went very well indeed and Derby Silk Mill was packed. Quite an achievement, when the sun was beaming down outside and people were sunbathing in droves. The speakers did well, and audience loved them. The TEDx Derby website has all the details and I hope to see the videos on the web soon. For any speaker, being filmed and reviewing your performance is vital, just as long as you don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes. Learn from them, move on, improve and keep learning.
I’ve been speaking for over 20 years and I still work to this doctrine. Continuous development is how we succeed…