I found the opportunity to do TEDx Wolverhampton through a post on Twitter.
Usually when I see an opportunity that I find interesting, I will do more research and make efforts to follow-up. I’ve found that I purposefully created an opportunity bubble on my Twitter account, where I only follow accounts relating to my academic or professional interests. In the past, my Twitter has provided the opportunity with FindAPhD.com, several conferences, podcast interviews, and publishing opportunities, all through networking.
This is not a promo for Twitter though. I think as long as you immerse yourself around like-minds in a way you feel comfortable, opportunities will be made available. After all, some of the TEDx speakers found the opportunity through friend suggestions and Google searching.
I realized the theme of TEDx Wolverhampton ‘Mirror, Signal, Maneuver’ involved self-reflection and change. With that, I decided to apply using the main theme from my PhD research: Nature Soundscapes and Relaxation. With my experience, nature sounds have brought peace during times of high anxiety. Even though nature is not a cure for stress, I think if we get in nature (either physically or through virtual means) we can see improvements in our wellbeing. I have changed for the better, becoming mentally and physically healthy after finding coping techniques that work for me. This is why I believe my PhD is an ‘idea worth spreading.’
The application process was done online, simply answering questions and offering a draft idea of the key points of the speech. The important information to cover: make sure the topic relates to the theme of the talk.
The applications had a blind review to rule out bias. After a few weeks, the TEDx Wolverhampton team would be in touch. From what I understood, around 80 speakers applied and 12 were accepted.
Preparing for the TEDx Wolverhampton Event
- TEDx have rules and guidance to follow to ensure continuity with the #IdeasWorthSpreading. My fellow speakers and I were briefed on the requirements and expectations.
- Scripts were drafted by speakers and reviewed by the TEDx team. Once edited, the scripts would be approved a few weeks before the event to ensure time to memorize.
- Memorization was highly important. I researched ways to memorize a script and found a great method that suggested to break the speech into parts and themes.
- Practice was very important! I would practice each day, even whilst doing other tasks.
- I filmed myself doing the speech and also used voice recording to analyze my speech, hand movements, body language, and areas of improvement.
- We had stage time before the event! It was great doing rehearsals on the stage before the event, this helps ease my worry and fear.
Day of TEDx Wolverhampton
The day of TEDx Wolverhampton was packed. We met at 8am to do more practice and prep for the start time of 10:00am. With the TEDx team, I was able to relax and unwind in the green room and was provided my own dressing room. The team assisted with keeping the event organized and the speakers comfortable. The cupcakes were even home-baked by one of the lovely team members!
I recommend the experience to anyone interested in sharing their life experience, research, or lessons learned. I found that this was a great opportunity to share my PhD research with a general audience. I would say it was a challenge to not sound too academic, but drafting the script helped refine the message without using academic jargon.
The speakers all had pieces of themselves in their scripts and it was truly an amazing moment watching each speaker connect with the audience in their own way.
I also want to end my blog with a huge thanks to the TEDx wlv team for being so helpful and supportive throughout the process.
The editing process of the TEDx video might take up to 6 months. Once my talk is posted online, I will be sure to share!