It's been a crazy few weeks and my goal of evaluating at least three TED talks a night has been abandoned.
I may have to resign myself to doing these evaluations in longer sittings, giving up on the ever elusive concept of consistency and surrendering to my more familiar binge-watching tendencies. Today I watched ten TED talks in a row. I am still hopelessly behind. I also missed the last training meeting with my group because I was teaching my own workshop. I feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew.
Still, I am feeling really hopeful about this project with Transforming Speakers. The TED talk evaluation process comes naturally to me. The advantage of binge watching videos is that seeing multiple talks in a row gives me more perspective on structure and content, dampening my usual preoccupation with the speaker's vocal delivery, which is always first and foremost to my enjoyment on a personal level. The talks from this evening's list were less inspiring than the first batch. Perhaps I am getting jaded already.
That said, I did really love "The Best Stats You've Ever Seen" by Hans Rosling. It is interesting to me, despite the highly specific TED brand and structure, how absolutely different these talks can be while still maintaining a high level of professionalism, personality, and great content. Styles vary drastically from talk to talk. Some speakers are personality driven, some are rely on pathos and emotional stories, and some, like Rosling, focus entirely on the message with no room for anything else! He was so enthusiastic about his PowerPoint presentation that I was completely swept up in it myself.
Yesterday I started taking notes on a biography I'd like to write about my dad. The ease with which I jotted down ideas made me realize how tempting it would be to borrow someone else's story rather than owning mine. It's completely feasible, I have a million fantastic stories from my family history, and it is so seductively "safe". But I know that would be a cop-out. That's not what I embarked on this mission to do. I hope that I will be courageous and speak about a topic that is important to me on a deep personal level. At least all this writing is sure to get the creative juices flowing.
I have yet to tackle my 100 questions to generate my very own "TED idea". I think that needs to come next. I am luxuriating in the easy part, dissection, something I do every day with my clients, and avoiding the hard part: self examination. I feel simultaneously overwhelmed by the options I have in front of me and completely at a loss. I worry I have nothing of value to share from my reasonably unremarkable life.
To make matter worse, as someone who already speaks in public as part of their business, my standards and critical analysis of other speakers has make me realize just how far I have to go. The reality is sinking in that I have hours upon hours upon hours of preparation ahead of me. Which can only improve my communication at every level. It is still a daunting prospect.
That is assuming, of course, that I can decide on a topic…
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