A blend of excitement and nervousness sits in your stomach. Your mouth is dry and the lights are hot. It’s a packed room of hundreds looking on to your every move. Years of research and a lifetime of dreams now are going to be judged by the world. Is it ready for what you have to say?
This is how I imagine it feels to be on the stage for a TED Talk. For those of you that don’t know, TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design [TED.com]) hosts annual conferences on a myriad of topics from innovation to global issues. The organization itself is nonprofit, nonpartisan with a sizable global network to spread ideas to new demographics daily. The TED.com website shares over 2300 talks, hosted freely on their website.
This is Clint Smith, a writer, teacher and doctoral candidate at Harvard University studying education, incarceration and inequality. He spoke for a mere five minutes using imagery, storytelling, and succinct messaging about growing up Black in America. It reflects his personal history, research, and story in a way to share with others the Black experience. While other TED talks aren’t specifically like this one, speakers are encouraged to use “maximum” 18 minutes to convey a strong message.
This is where my hopes and dreams come in. Maybe it is specially connected to my dream at the end of my 90-page wall, but the idea’s origin is the same. I want to learn how to present something I am passionate about, that has been polished in a succinct way, in front of the foremost thinkers and creatives in the world. I want to share my knowledge in a way the others can learn from.
I am not saying TED is the gold standard, far from it. There are numerous other TED-esque conferences around the world, but TED is my goal. My personal favorite recently has been the 99u [99u.com] conference and their writings on creativity. All of the conferences touch on the same concept: sharing ideas with the world.
When I think about TED, I think about the honor of being selected and a platform to grow in my voice and content. I think about the chance to listen and really learn from hours of genius condensed in one place. Even if it turns out to be a completely different experience than what I expect, I know at least one person will leave an impact.
I have no clue what I will speak about but I am writing it down now to cement it in my head. This is the type of dream/goal you share with others to ensure it comes true. I am super hopeful about my future and I encourage you all to be the same with yours. Don’t forget to dream! Maybe my talk will be about that…
Any big bucket list items you want to achieve? Any favorite TED talks you’d like to share? If you had 20 minutes to talk to the world about one thing, what would it be? Share it in the comments below.
Bonus Link: Ten Alternatives to TED