December 26, 2010

My TEDx Talk

I recently had the privilege of presenting at TEDxSaskatoon. It was a great event living up to the reputation TED has of bringing together people with creative and inspirational ideas.

Creating a TED talk is different from other presentations I've done. 18 minutes provides significant restrains from the usual 45-90 minute time slots I'm used to having for presentations. Trying to be concise and lucid is not as easy as it might sound. I'm used to playing with ideas, sensing the audience and having a few different options to tap into during any given presentation. With 18 minutes you need to make your points quickly and clearly. There was a great deal of stuff left on the cutting room floor. I likely started with about 40 minutes of content and managed to get it down to 15 minutes. I still question if some of the ideas were coherent or if they flowed together.

In most of my talks I take advantage of the presenter notes and usually fill it with bullet points and the occasional sentence or two that I don't want to misread. With this talk I almost memorized the script word for word. The challenge is making it sound like I didn't. I couldn't afford to stray or fumble since I had no time to recover or regroup. For the most part I think I accomplished this but would have liked to finish my talk more strongly.

I normally speak to educators exclusively but have had the opportunity to speak to more diverse audiences which is really helpful to remove jargon and some presumed background knowledge from my presentations. I didn't want to make this only about schools so at least half of the talk looks at connective technologies and historical context outside of education. The idea was to help people see the past and the current status of community and tie that to schools. This one is still hard for me to gauge as it's hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

I certainly I didn't nail the delivery but I will say it was a great learning experience for me. I have great respect for anyone who's had to do one.