TEDx Reflections, Part II


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Earlier this week, I wrote about my experiences at last Friday’s TEDx Adelphi University where I delivered a talk entitled, Smacked by the Storm: How Long Island can recover from it’s Heroin Crisis.

Here are a few more reflections….

You’re never as good or as bad as you thought you were.

If you’re the one giving the speech, things are exaggerated X100 and the audience’s experience is different than yours. They didn’t notice the line you omitted. The delay in your slide appearing that seemed like an hour to you, was barely perceptible. That mic-drop line you delivered perfectly wasn’t the crescendo for everyone else; they liked three other sentences neatly tucked into a personal narrative even better.

It helps to imagine that you are taking the audience on a journey.

Any twenty-minute speech is going to have an opening, a few key themes, and a closing that might be a quick summary, a quiet reflection or a call to action. Envision your major themes as stops along the way as you take your audience on a trip. It will help you ease into, and remember your transitions as you cover key points.

People need to laugh.

Making heroin funny isn’t easy, but I wish I had inserted a few lighter moments into my talk. It was intense and I got some unintentional chuckles when discussing long term methadone use, I noted that “we don’t tell diabetics ‘enough with the insulin already’”. The line is amusing, but not especially funny. It came at the midpoint of the speech and it may be that the audience needed a quick breather from the intensity.

There is camaraderie in shared experience.

The speakers didn’t spend a lot of time together, but we bonded naturally and there was a shared energy that seemed to strengthen all of us as we went through the process and the day. Those experiences are rare; embrace and treasure them when they happen. That kind of energy lifts us up and solves problems.

There are a whole lot of really talented and committed people doing great stuff on Long Island.

Every speaker – and there were 11 of us – delivered critical messages from the heart and it’s almost impossible to leave an event like that without feeling like an under-achiever. The intellectual capital and energy in that room was amazing and these are the folks who are quietly, but very effectively, doing their part to make Long Island, our state, country and world a better place. None of the magic would have happened without the hard work and dedication of the TEDx team at Adelphi who planned the event, supported the speakers at every step of the way and ran a flawless day. They worked behind the scenes and in the wings, but truly shared the spotlight last Friday. As promised, I’ll post a video and transcript as soon as I have it and of course, thanks for reading!