WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO DO A TED TALK

I could not quite relate to TED videos on youtube. This time I was looking at things from the perspective of a speaker; both the stage and the people felt odd, at least at first.

Oh, I talked at the 2018 KazTEA PST Conference about Translanguaging in Pedagogy, a topic my groupmates know I am so keen on.

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The STAGE and I

I should mention that one of the venues of the event was at Miras University, a private university in Shymkent. The stage they provided was a tad bit different from those you would see in TED talks. It did not fully meet the expectations of the speakers (including me): it was poorly equipped, it was dark and it was literally near the main entrance. You could imagine some people were entering or leaving the hall as I tried to concentrate on the audience. At first, it was disturbing, but a few minutes into my speech the bypassers and all the extra sounds stopped bothering me. I imagine it was partly due to how absorbed I was into the topic. Maybe, on top of that, it is also because I have learnt to focus on my task even in rooms full of people and noise (Shoutout to my ex-roommates!).

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The PEOPLE and I

Although I was afraid the listeners would also be distracted, they were surprisingly glued to my slides and me. Perhaps, the exaggerated intonation and non-verbal cues aided me in drawing their attention. Some still must have felt exhausted after the first day of the conference. It was past 5 pm. A handful of attendees leaned back on cosy sofas and seemed motionless. To try and awaken them, I started walking back and forth asking some questions and projecting my voice in their direction. Understanding that the longer the speech is, the less the audience is interested, I decided to touch upon the essence of the topic only. The decision was also based on the contingent of participants: students and school teachers comprised the majority. I guessed not many of them were familiar with research on multilingualism. Earlier the same day, observing the peers I went to seminars and demonstrations with, I made some changes to my PowerPoint presentation and notes. Owing to that, when I used simple language and relatable examples in my speech, the expressions on the faces spoke volumes. Most nodded in agreement and smiled as their everyday practices were addressed. At that point, I realized how crucial it is to put yourself in the shoes of the crowd to perform better.

Through this experience, I shared knowledge and I learned. I learned to command the stage. I learned to orchestrate seemingly minute details to deliver a speech. A speech that resonates with the spectators. Now, reflecting on the TEDx talk I recall the “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome” meme, which accurately describes what I attempted to do. I advise you to be ready to do so, too.

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WOULD YOU LIKE TO GIVE A TED TALK? HOW WOULD YOU PREPARE YOURSELF?

8 thoughts on “WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO DO A TED TALK

  1. My congratulations on your first TedX format speech! It is a priceless experience! No matter how many people are sitting in the lecture hall and what conditions are created there for speakers, it’s great to hear that you were able to overcome such a scary barer as public speaking through improvising and adapting! These are actually necessary tips for future speakers. Personally, I would really like to give a Ted talk some day. I think I will watch dozens of Ted Talk videos and read lots of articles about public speaking to prepare myself for such an unusual but my favorite format of public speaking!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Serikbolsyn, for sharing your experience and reflection! Although I have never done aTED talk, I full-heartedly enjoy giving public presentations. Still, to do so I have to be really good at topic. Otherwise, I will lack confidence and presentation will turn into disaster.

    I agree with you that it is crucial to remember your audience. Sometimes it might be helpful to research about your listeners beforehand. When you know them and their purposes, it become easier to organize the content of your speech. I also loved that you were flexible with your presentation and able to reshape and reconsider your speech.

    To add to what you have said, basic advice such as having a good sleep and healthy breakfast before the presentation as well as bringing a bottle of water might also help (at least in my case). Yet, what works for one person might not work for the other one.

    Have you received any feedback from your listeners so far?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your comment!
      And yes, I got some feedback from the organising committee. In fact, they told me the audience enjoyed the performance and chose it as one of the best according to certain criteria, which is flattering and unexpected. I was invited to give a talk at another conference as a result 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, CaKe, for imparting your magnifical experience! I espouse the fact that people are not aware about multilingualism and making your speech easier for them to understand was a good decision. This reflects your flexibility to adapt to the setting and to remain concentrated to deliver the material. Were there some speakers you got a great impression from?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate your kind words!
      And yes, there was a student from Kostanai that I was indeed pleased with. She talked about plagiarism and gave some funny yet emphatetic examples. Not sure everyone wrapped their heads around the topic, but she managed to get a few laughters and a round of applause.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “At that point, I realized how crucial it is to put yourself in the shoes of the crowd to perform better.” Thanks for sharing these wise words, and the details of your educational experience.

    5/5

    Like

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