This morning I went to the first Transforming Speakers TED training that I have been able to attend in a while, having missed the last two due to previous commitments. It was inspiring to see how far each member of the group had come in their journey while I had been away. Today we shared our topic ideas, and gave each other feedback on how to refine our messages and build cohesive talk structures.
The meeting felt more like a mastermind session than a report on a homework assignment. Everyone got stuck in, asking probing questions and offering suggestions. The room was full of ideas sparking off of one another in little fizzles of inspiration. We're all still in the early stages yet, rough outlines only, but the hard part is over.
I chose my topic less than a week ago, completely by accident, so I was trepidatious about sharing it with the group, many of whom have been massaging ideas for quite some time. I chose to take my shaking voice as a sign that I am on the right path, lessons from The War of Art reappearing in my mind to nudge me gently in the right direction.
Speaking my idea out loud to the group for the first time (No, you don't get to know what it is until I book a talk, wait and see.) was both terrifying and extremely validating. My tiny little zygote of a concept sparked a great deal of conversation. We didn't have time to go into too much detail, but in the few minutes we spent exploring, I became so aware of the potential depth and intricacy and research that this project will involve. I found myself wishing I could have more than 18 minutes to speak.
Driving home, the excitement and fear about what the next three weeks will bring bubbled over and I found myself ranting out loud in the car. I wish I'd had the forethought to turn on my voice recorder before I started driving. (I'm only now beginning to experiment with dictating notes to myself and I often only remember I have the capability to do so when I am well into a rant. Or after the fact. I'm catching up with the technology of my generation at a snail's pace.)
The challenge now will be distilling my talk into a clean and concise message, not getting distracted by unnecessary tangents and all the ways that I feel it could be applied and relevant to the world.
I can always do multiple talks, right?
Listen to me, acting like I already have the first one booked! How quickly enthusiasm takes over. One step at a time. Stop and breathe. I still haven't completed the list of 100 questions for idea generation yet! I'm hoping that process will help me narrow down some specific images for my topic, I have a tendency to get lost in vagaries.
We have a longer break between this meeting and the next. I don't know if it was intentional, to give us time to rehearse, or not but I'm grateful for the extra week because now that we've fleshed out our ideas, it's time to rehearse! At the next meeting we'll each be sharing a snippet from our talk.
I am resolved to polish off all the remaining TED talk evaluations and apply what I have gleaned to my rehearsal sessions before the next meeting. Wish me luck!
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