As a first-time TEDx speaker, the whole experience was something of a rollercoaster. The deadlines were daunting as the revisions for the talk rose to V13.
My experience with TEDxRutgersCamden began with words and continued to be all about the words.
The organizers urged us to read Chris Anderson’s book about delivering TED talks. I was taken with his idea to fall in love with every word, with every sentence of my talk. I thought I was in love around Version 5 but then came coaching with the talented Rebecca Massoud, who gave me important input. Then came the fact-checking and suggestions for changes which made me think and re-think my choices.
I am a writer, first and foremost, and my words are personal. Very personal. I don’t think I have ever had my words analyzed so intently. I admit being seriously annoyed at times. But then I had the chance to reflect on the feedback. While I did not accept all the changes, the truth is that the process and the feedback and the revisions on the revisions all served to make my talk stronger.
The words are still my words and the thoughts are still my thoughts. Only clearer. I didn’t think it would happen, but I fell deeply in love with every sentence. With every word. I can stand behind the words and feel gratitude for the TEDx process which made me a better writer and speaker.
The TEDxRutgersCamden team led by Pariti Sutaria is impressive. They were presented with a serious challenge as they needed to pivot from a live event to a virtual one. The team handled this adversity with grace, good sense, and solid communication. As a speaker, it feels great to be supported by event organizers who have a clear sense of purpose. We all know that we are involved in doing something very important, something that will matter, and that we will never forget.