This blog post’s a little different from my usual posts. This time I’ll be talking about my experience of the Brunel University (my university) TEDx talk application and audition process.
Well firstly, what is TED and TEDx? TED is a “non-profit organisation devoted to spreading new ideas” through events with speakers and presentations on various themes, and TEDx is simply the local, self-organised version of the wider project. When Brunel University announced they were holding a TEDx talk on the theme of The Future of Us, I jumped at the chance to apply, given my belief that Invincible Woman on Wheels can genuinely inspire a change in the wider community in the future.
The first step was to fill in the application form. On that form there were 4 sections: my name, the title of the talk I wanted to give, a short 500-word synopsis of what I wanted to talk about and the impact of my brand/topic on humanity. Now, while my name is a very straightforward answer, the talk title and synopsis were more difficult. For the talk title I decide to use the same title as the blog (Invincible Woman on Wheels), this was because I’d decided to talk about the meaning behind the blog and what I meant to achieve with it and therefore linking the blog title and the talk title seemed the simplest nod to the basis of the talk. Despite knowing I wanted to talk about the meaning behind the blog, I still found the synopsis writing a little tricky, it was difficult to distil the mission and ethos of Invincible Woman on Wheels into just 500 words. Also, even though I knew the change I wanted to inspire with Invincible Woman on Wheels, it was difficult for me to think of it in the wider context of an impact on the whole of humanity, purely because I did not expect this blog to have the global reach it now does!
Then my application was sent off, and after much anxious waiting I was lucky enough to be selected for the long list (from which the two student speakers for the event would be chosen). Now, while this may not seem like much to those who are well versed in the art of public speaking and do things like this all the time, it was a huge deal to me, particularly considering the blog is self-run by me alone and was (at the time of the application) only six months old!
Soon it came time to prepare my long list selection talk, a five-minute-long version of my full talk that would be delivered to a panel of judges who would then decide which two student speakers would speak at the event. I had to write my speech down (which meant yes, my talk was completely scripted, don’t judge me!) because I am (or at least hope I am) better with the written word than the spoken word. I was also difficult knowing how much of my story to include in the talk. That’s because Invincible Woman on Wheels is about me but also not about me, it’s about the difference my stories can make to others and how my stories inspire others. The final part of my preparations was a run through of the talk with my editor extraordinaire Nikki who I felt understood the meaning behind the blog and the message I was trying to get across in the talk best.
When the day of my actual audition talk came, I was super nervous because, as I’ve already said, I’m not very good with the spoken word and am much better with the written word. Knowing this about myself made me very aware of what a major step I was talking by even doing the audition, and as a result I stumbled over my words frequently and was very jittery. I felt in the end that I didn’t do the blog justice, so it was no surprise to me when I didn’t make it through to the full talk (although I want to offer my congratulations to those that did. Despite falling at what was essentially the final TED talk application hurdle, it was still an honour and a massive learning experience to be anywhere near a platform like TED.
I hope this provides an insight into my experience of the application and audition process for the Brunel University TEDx talk (and please let me know if you’d like to see a full transcript of my audition talk!)
Em (Invincible Woman on Wheels)