Behind the scenes of a TEDx talk, with Lizzie Everard

 

Here I interviewed film maker, animator and artist Lizzie Everard about her experience creating and delivering her TEDx talk.

These are some of the practical tips and insights shared – from proposal, through to delivery and beyond.

PROPOSAL
1) A former co-worker pointed her in the direction of TEDx – it was really helpful having a friend help her see that possibility.

2) For the proposal she wrote a draft of what she thought her talk could be, which helped her gather her ideas – but she would actually suggest writing something in more of a skeleton form at this stage. She also worked hard to present herself as well as possible in a 2 minute video.

3) Her motivation to do TEDx was a mixture of wanting to challenge herself, and having been moved by other people’s TED and TEDx talks.

TALK DEVELOPMENT, PRACTICE AND PREPARATION
4) Being asked in an early coaching session ‘Why does this matter to you?’ opened all kinds of deep rooted things that surprised her. At first she was back footed, but it turned out to be the right question at the right moment. It unlocked so much.

5) She practiced as much as she could, including in front of her studio co-workers, and her choir. It really helped to see their expressions, and get their encouragement and feedback.

6) She practiced with cue cards, knowing that she wouldn’t use them on the day. She took this a step further by cutting out little thumbnails of her slides and sticking them to the back of the cards. Then when she was ready, she flipped the cards over and started running it with just the little pictures to remind her. She also knew that there would be a comfort monitor on the stage on the day, so that she could glance at her slides if she did need to.

7) She essentialised her slides so that they were just a word or two (in her hand lettering), or one image that was the essence of that part of the story. They were a visual focal point to help consolidate what she was talking about.

8) Don’t be surprised if you run to 10 drafts of the talk. It can be a necessary process, to excavate the real gold. It was a lot of work mining! And then chopping out huge chunks. It was far more work than she imagined it would be.

9) It was helpful going for a massive long run as preparation the day before, to be on her own, not speak to anyone and burn off some energy. If not a run, then go for a good walk – discharge the cortisol. And get a good night’s sleep

ON THE DAY
10) She had planned what she was going to wear, and kept it simple. Even then, there was a last minute issue with the mic clip not working, so there was a weird bulldog clip arrangement. But by that time she knew that she just needed to relax, go with it, take a deep breath and stretch her arms.

11) From watching one of the other speakers she really observed the value of being still, slowing down and drawing the audience in with pauses and questions.

12) With the lights you can’t really see all the audience, but she could clock a few friendly faces on the front row.

13) Before she started, she took a moment to really soak in how exciting it was – to have this opportunity.

14) Immediately after she didn’t really want to talk to anyone – maybe her introvert self just really wanting to retreat and digest it all?

AFTER THE DAY, AND PARTING ADVICE
15) In the weeks and months after she really sensed a tectonic shift in herself. It has led to all kinds of ideas, insights, explorations, workshops. Like lots of little tiny new shoots coming up. It’s made her think of book ideas, and other personal projects.

‘What TEDx helped me to believe is…you are capable of amazing things in your life. It really surprised me what I was capable of. What I could stretch for.’

‘Absolutely go for it. Just take one step at a time. And however far you get through that process…just do it wholeheartedly. There is so much to be learned at every single step along the journey.’

‘Stay humble, stay open, and know that the best is still to come.’

You can find Lizzie, her work and a link to her beautiful talk here: www.lizzieeverard.com

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