16 Nov 2015

How to Give a TEDx Talk

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By Nicole Gatmaitan on November 16, 2015

Before TEDxSMU, I’ve only heard about the TED talks and seen a few of them on YouTube. I never really understood what they were. I just knew that they were talks given by inspiring people hoping to inspire others with their innovative ideas or design. I applied on a whim so I didn’t really know what to expect going into the conference. But I’m really glad I was given the opportunity to attend.

I went with one of my friends who is also a fellow SMU student so I didn’t feel too uncomfortable going by myself. It was my first time at the Dallas City Performance Hall and I was really impressed by the venue. There were a lot of windows so there was a lot of natural light coming into the building so everything seemed bright and exciting. What really impressed me was the giant white poster board cubes with different questions written on them and markers on the floor so people could answer them. Some of the questions were “Who Inspires you,” “If you could ask a TEDx speaker anything, what would it be,” and “Who was your favorite TEDx speaker?” Some of the answers were really clever but the questions made me really think about what I would say. For the “If you could ask a TEDx speaker anything, what would it be” I wrote two questions: “How do you find the courage to give a TED talk?” and “How do you decide what to talk about?”

In regards to speakers, the ones about family were the most impactful for me. I guess it’s because I’m growing up, my parents are getting older and in a few years down the road, I would start my own family. Candy Peterson’s talk about her daughter was diagnosed with melanoma and then she got diagnosed with breast cancer. When she teared up during her talk, I teared up. As the description on the YouTube page says, Mrs. Peterson’s talk was “equal parts witty and equal parts emotional.” I also enjoyed Jessica Shortfall’s talk about paid maternity leave. I knew paid maternity leave was an issue in America, but I never knew how big of an issue it was and Mrs. Shortall’s talk made me aware of that.

After listening to the rest of the talks I already knew the answer to the questions that I had written on the board earlier. To be able to give a TED talk, you find something you’re passionate about or something that you want people to become aware about and more knowledgeable about. If you’re super passionate about it, then you’re able to find the courage to give a TED talk about it.

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