Four years ago, friends began sharing TED talks with me. They were all very interesting and I began to wonder just what started all of this? How do these people, who come from all walks of life, find their way onto the TED stage?
First what is TED? TED began as a conference in 1984 about Technology, Entertainment and Design, to share ideas worth spreading. Over the years the topics have broadened but speakers still need an invitation to speak. There are now TEDx events, independent community events which follow the parameters around TED. If you go to TED.com you will find thousands of talks on almost any subject from education to the universerse. The overall thread running through each talk, which are from 6-24 minutes long, is “What is the idea worth sharing?”
I have watched hours of talks on Africa, health care, education, preschools and so many other subjects. I could only imagine an opportunity to give a talk like these talks. Then, it happened. I received an email that rocked my life. I was being recommended to participate in TEDx Sarasota to be held on October 6, 2014.
I have told the story of how Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope came to life many, many times. In fact I love sharing the story. I’ve shared it in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Hawaii, Texas, South Korea, Italy–you get the picture. I share Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope wherever I go. But it quickly became obvious that sharing the Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope Story was not exactly where TEDx wanted me to go. I needed to search deep inside to see what was my idea worth sharing. It was a long struggle, almost four months of writing, rewriting, changing ideas, wondering it I would ever find the right idea.
I talked with my speech coach, Judy Winslow, every week, even when I was in Ghana. She encouraged me but also challenged me to go deeper. In mid-August the whole team of speakers, nine in all, began weekly audio conferences where we would present our talk and critique one another. It was very insightful. My idea became clear after I received comments from the group. My 5-6 photos by powerpoint changed with my ideas.
Each speaker would have 12 minutes in front of a live audience (about 150-200 people) and be video taped for the world to see. Cynthia Parker spoke on racism, Seth Smith talked about movments creating books and one of my favorite speakers, Dr. Gordon Chiu spoke about graphene, a 22nd century product. These are just a few of the offerings. We were a very diverse group who would not meet until the day before the event.
There was one rehearsal on stage with a microphone and our powerpoint slides. My clothing had to be carefully chosen, no black or white. I would be at the event all day, so comfortable yet stylish shoes were essential. I had given my speech at several Toastmasters meetings. I thought I was ready but on stage at rehearsal, uncharistic of me, I stumbled over simple things. Even my powerpoint slides were wrong. They were using slides I had submitted months ago for a previous version. Did I really want to do a TED talk? Thank God for rehearsals.
On October 6th, I was speaker #6. I stepped out on stage, took a deep breath and began to speak. Unfortuntaely my mic did not want to work that day so I stepped off stage, put on a new mic and was introduced again. Whew! Then I delivered the speech of my life.
I invite you to watch my TEDx talk. I believe in my “idea worth sharing,” anyone, regardless of age, can empower others and change the world. I hope you agree and will share this talk with all of your family and friends.
Blessings, Debi Frock
P.S. I am available for speaking engagements