Some time around this time last year, Kingsley said I should apply to attend to speak at TED. He was pretty convinced that I could do it and asked me if I were to ever get selected, what would the topic of my talk be? I said I don’t know and just laughed it off.
I didn’t tell him that his question got stuck in my head for the next few months. I asked myself many times the same question he asked me, what would I talk about? I haven’t achieved nor done anything exceptional enough, but I’ve always been interested in personal branding and that topic was the one that I pitched to the TEDxKids@BC committee in May 2013.
It was a pretty fun roller coaster ride to get to the stage last Saturday, October 26th 2013, but I’ll write about that in another post. I just want to chronicle the timeline of my journey:
- May 24: I found out that TEDxKids@BC are looking for speakers and I applied immediately that day. I shot a quick 2 minutes video introducing myself and the topic I would be talking about should I get chosen.
- June 2: I was just waiting in the car while Kingsley filled up his gas when I read the email that I’ve been chosen to speak! I jumped up and down with joy at the gas station.
- June 22: I went to meet the TEDxKids@BC Speakers Team for the first time at Science World. I didn’t know what to expect so I didn’t have anything ready and ended up making up stuff on the spot. The committee asked pretty hard but constructive questions that helped me narrow my focus. I also had my photo taken by Sukhraj.
- July 23: I had my first session with Rowand at the Bolton Academic of Spoken Arts and I felt so inspired to rewrite part of my speech after the session. Ro was incredibly helpful and humorous, not to mention, he also has a great fashion style.
- Aug 15: I announced it to my Facebook friends that I’ll be speaking at TEDxKids@BC.
- Aug 21: I created a “Support Group” on Facebook for a few of my close friends to help me craft my speech and give feedback.
- Aug 22: I shared my speech with my support group for the first time and received some great feedback.
- Aug 27: I set a goal to watch 1 TEDTalks every day. Didn’t quite last as long as I wanted to…
- Aug 29: I modified my speech based on the feedback received earlier. Kingsley made some critical comments.
- Sept 4: I had my second session with Rowand. He said I was getting there but not quite. He sent me home with some things to consider such as vowel pronunciation and pacing.
- Sept 5: Elaiza introduced me to Francis who spoke and performed at TEDTalks before. I talked to him briefly on the phone to get an idea of what it’s like to be on the stage.
- Sept 9: 3rd draft of the speech done based on Kingsley‘s and Elaiza‘s feedback.
- Sept 13: Another version of the draft done.
- Sept 14: First time meeting other speakers and other faces in the team! We bonded and became friends right away.
- Sept 18: Considered what to call the 3 sections as.
- Sept 20: The slides were due. I was panicking because I haven’t locked down my speech completely yet, but was happy they put the pressure on us to submit the slides and copy a month beforehand.
- Sept 21: I attended TEDxSFU and was really inspired by it and ended up writing a completely different speech. At the end, I took a few pieces from this and brought them back to my original copy.
- Oct 3: I read the speech to Diana while on our way to dodgeball.
- Oct 7: I had a nervous break down and told Kingsley I can’t do this.
- Oct 10: I presented in front of my Director for the first time. She gave some tips and offered to take a look at the speech in detail.
- Oct 12: I took a concept (Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black) out of the presentation.
- Oct 19: Kingsley helped me fix some of the grammatical errors in the copy.
- Oct 21: I decided to omit some part of the speech to make it shorter and less confusing.
- Oct 23: Last minute session with Ro. He made me go on the small stage and deliver my speech. It was this day as well that I got featured as Top 24 Under 24.
- Oct 24: I presented in front of my VP at work for the first time. She gave some constructive feedback of how I should walk with purpose on stage. I was relieved when she said she likes my speech!
- Oct 25: Sh*t got real! We spent 8 hours at Science World OMNIMAX for the rehearsal. There were some technical glitches throughout the day, but it was a fun day overall. The rehearsal definitely helped us to prepare for what to come. I also attended SIAT 10th Year Anniversary Gala where I was given the honour to present an award to the Managing Director of SAP Canada Labs, Kirsten Sutton.
- Oct 26: The big day! I was behind the stage the whole morning and at first I was just panicking and didn’t stop practicing my speech over and over again. At one point, I didn’t feel anything but just calm. So I set my phone down and close my eyes for a few minutes. I also walked up and down the ramp before dancing out to Eminem with some of the other speakers. The whole day went much better than expected and definitely worth another post. Consider the above as a teaser 😉
Up until this very second I still can’t believe I’ve done it. I’ve gone on stage and shared my talk to 400+ inspiring people. It feels amazing to be done but I’m starting to miss the pressure though my appetite is now back. I can’t believe my passion and drive got me this far in such a short amount of time. I’m incredibly humbled and grateful for this experience and couldn’t have asked for better friends, better audience, better venue, better anything.