I tend to do my musings elsewhere now so I haven't devoted much time to, or been particularly concerned about blogging. But this past weekend I got to do a TEDx talk in Birmingham. It was an unusual experience, given that I haven't done a huge amount of public speaking and I'm usually over-confident and under-prepared when I do. As it was TED related I dared not screw this up, so I had been preparing quite extensively.
I was involved in TEDx initially when it first launched, largely because one of the key people involved sat in an office opposite mine and I was asked to speak when some others dropped out last minute. Scheduling meant I couldn't do it but more importantly I didn't have anything to say. But after my experience at this year's Marathon Des Sables I felt like I did have a useful story to tell and I worked pretty closely with Ian Harrison of TEDx/ThinkShareCreate as well as John and Katie Newbold to develop what was just a story of illness and injury into something more useful and life affirming. I was incredibly keen to not turn it into a typical near death experience story and get all lambs frollicking in the field about it. I didn't manage it completely because nearly dying in the desert has had a subtle but profound impact on me, most of which I didn't cover in my talk but I think I turned it into something useful and interesting.
I spoke last on the day. A slot that was intimidating but, on reflection, well chosen. My story was a little different to others' and Ian had heard it enough to know my style. All four speakers from the last section were taken to the green room and then escorted out one by one. By the time I was on my own I did a final run through and finished it in record time. It turns out this was because I'd missed out a whole huge section. Amazing.
On the plus side, at one point I noticed a woman walk past the green room with a bag of giant chocolate buttons. I asked this total stranger if she'd share them and she kindly did. It turned out to be the actress Finty Williams.
It went pretty well in the end. I ran over time (as I expected and had been reassured that it wouldn't be the end of the world) and I missed out one line that was very important to me but would have made no difference to anyone else.
Thanks to the organisers, who are all volunteers and who did an immense amount of work. Thanks in particular to Ian Harrison for guiding me through it and especially John, Katie, Kate, Nick and Sarah who've been leaned on pretty hard these past few months.
John kindly put together a storify of my talk which shows some of the incredible feedback I've had. I'll put the video up when it's made available to me.