This will be the first of a series of posts on lessons, tips, and tricks on social entrepreneurship and leadership from being a speaker at TedxChiangmai about my cause and initiative, http://lightfootstepsdance.com . To see part one of the series, the experience, click here.
I am so sorry I haven’t been posting at all, but due to my school’s new host school’s internet regulations, WordPress can only be accessed during weekends.
On the internet, there have been many people who have told about their experiences preparing for the talks, and they helped me immensely while I was preparing, so this will be a version of that.
So the first question that usually comes into people’s heads is first, how do you actually become a Tedx speaker?
Well, first off, you have to be passionate about something, whether that be toys or art or even dragons (however childish that may seem, if spoken right, dragons can be a very empowering topic). You don’t even need to have created a successful company or won a prestigious international award; I know I certainly didn’t. What I did was have a dream, of helping hospital children come out from the background of the philanthropic world and empowering them through dance with my initiative, Light Footsteps Dance. You don’t need to raise thousands of dollars or help hundreds of people.
One way to make the decision process easier for your Tedx organizer is to build your online brand, which includes a blog, facebook, flickr. When you search up your name, do the results accurately reflect you?
You don’t even have to be the one making the websites or blogs; the online article that caught the Tedx’s eye was one by Citylife, which I had the honor to be featured on. Stay open to interviews, even if you’re shy!
After Martin, the Tedx organizer had read an article on me, he sent me a Facebook message, asking me if I would like to speak. And that was how it all began.
Then comes the process, which for a lot of people means over a month of preparation. Let’s face it though, for a teenage student and aspiring novelist/blogger going through the International Bacchelaureate Diploma Program, that really is almost not a possibility.
Balancing school and your Tedx life can be quite difficult, but just explain to your teachers, ask for some extensions, and most importantly of all, don’t complain about how much work you have. There are so many students out there that just complain instead of doing their work; if they didn’t want the workload, why not just drop out of such a rigorous program? It is possible, and you can be able to thrive on stage, with your friends, and at academics. With my Tedx talk, the day I flew back from India to Thailand for the talk, I took two tests, and the week before had tests in every subject.
Needless to say, it was only after two weeks before the Tedx talk that I memorized my script and started practicing. I tried to get as much public speaking experience as possible, whether that be entering a debate club or preforming slam poetry in front of the entire auditorium.
And then, comes the actual moment, when you’re standing up on stage. After the initial shock and realization of “this is it,” you realize that a few hundred people is so much easier to talk to then fifty. With fifty, you see individual faces, you can hear people start to drift off. But with a few hundred people, these faces all blur into one another, becoming just a dark mass in the dimlit room. The underwear trick doesn’t work; trust me. Just pretend like you’re speaking to a black wall, looking at all four corners of it so people of different areas think you’re making eye contact.
And then, you just have to have faith in your ability to speak, and to inspire.
The next post will be on lessons learned, including networking with businessmen (as a 15-year-old person) and dress attire, as well as more unorthodox things like how to react when someone praises you or starts crying on you. No one taught me that, so it’s best you don’t go through the slightly awkward incidents I had to go through to learn them.