The Experience of Giving the First TEDx Talk

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I was invited to give a TEDx Talk last year in 2017 but I have to decline because of my unavailability. However, I was invited again for this year (2018) TEDx Kenyalang which I almost decline because of another important engagement that might happen at the same time. However, the other engagement was called off and thus, I have the last minute preparation to give my first TEDx Talk.

Although I have made numerous Talks in various big or small events, private or public, in a small room to a large hall, somehow I felt this Talk is going to be very different. And that jitters and nervousness sends a chill down to my spine. Here’s why:

  1. Time is quite strict to limit the Talk within less than 18 minutes!
  2. How to convey a very engaging and captivating story to a general audience when we talk on a technology topic.
  3. But the scariest thought of all is when theEven though I was given several ooportuniy ideas got stuck and we start talking gibberish or mumbling words which will be recorded and publish in the Official TEDx YouTube Channel.

The host gave me the opportunity to have a session with the TEDx coach to get tips on how to give the presentation. However, due to time unavailability I did not manage to have that personal coach session. I was only given an “Illustrated TEDx Speaker Guide” to read and prepare by myself.

Here’s what I did to allow prepare myself until the day of the presentation:

  1. Select the closest topic at heart so that I don’t have to do any further research
  2. Recycle some of the slides which I have presented in my previous Talks
  3. The arrangement of the slides are very important because it will tell the story during that 17-minute slot
  4. I have read some tips regarding how to convey a story in TEDx Talks which includes some emotions, the ups-and downs and focus on only one main idea
  5. I rarely practice speaking in front of a mirror. Most of my talks are arranged in my mind and sometimes I do speak aloud in my car to practice the timing.
  6. Review many of TEDx speakers around the world and see how they convey the message with ease.
  7. Personally, I feel that the start of the Talk is the most important part because that’s the time I watch to catch the attention of the audience. Furthermore, that first minute is always the nervous period with adrenalin rushing before we settle down.
  8. Talking with other fellow speakers before my turn is very important bring down the stage jitters.
  9. I need to inject some humour to ensure that I can get the reaction of the audience and gauge whether my Talk is dry or engaging.
  10. Actually when I am standing in front of the audience and the spotlight directly shines on me, I can’t actually see the the whole audience clearly. I can only see some faces in couple of front rows whereas the back is pitch black! You just assumed that they are listening to you.
  11. I love to walk around the stage but when it’s limited to a circle, I have difficulty to engage with the audience.
  12. There is a Timer in front of me that shows how much time left and it helps to gauge my length of Talk.
  13. The great part is that I don’t fumble much, I managed to present less than 18 minutes, the YouTube video looks ok and the I have managed to convey my message.

That’s my story and my first TEDx Talk experience. I am thankful to TEDx kenyalang for giving me this opportunity. I have never imagined to be part of the TEDx Speakers although I have seen many of the Talks in their channel.

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About Mazlan Abbas

IOT Evangelist
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