What did I learn from TEDx?

Mar 17, 0201

I don’t like to say no. In my life I have serious FOMO. It’s this exact reason that I ended up involved in running the recent TEDx event at Plymouth University.

About 4 months ago I found myself in a room of (relative) strangers as we spoke about what we would do and how we could run our own TEDx event. In my experience of running Digital Plymouth events I hope that my advice helped us to avoid the majority of mistakes we have made when running them.

But more importantly – what did I learn? With all TEDx events the organisers do the majority of the work voluntarily, so there’s no financial reward. Even on the event itself there’s no real opportunity to enjoy a round of applause from the crowd for an ‘job well done’, that honour (rightly) belongs to the speakers alone.

So I needed to look a bit closer to home. I had to see what I had acheived…

Confidence boost
Even with my serious FOMO I am somewhat of an introvert, so having to work very closely and over a very short space of time with a new group of people was, at times, a struggle for me (and I would guess for them too). It did however help me to focus and, I hope, do some of my best work in a short space of time.

PowerPoint is awful
To be honest, I knew this already. 250+ slides on a PowerPoint deck (including 5 videos) is not the best way to run an event like this. However, it did go off without a hitch in the end.

Never again though…

A different perspective
Of course, an idea of TEDx is to be challenged, in you ideas, values and perspective. Not only did this event do this but it did it with our organising comittee too. We had such a diverse background and range of experience in our organising comittee that really helped us to identify some great speakers really quickly and easily.

A night out
Being married, having 2 children and running your own business can make it a challenge to get a night out. For me it certainly is! But I was determined to make the most of an opportunity. The unofficial TEDx afterparty at a pub on the Plymouth University Campus was one of the most fun and spontaneous nights out I’ve had in a long time and is a testament to the speakers, volunteers and organisers who wanted to celebrate a great event.

The less said about the next morning the better…

Regardless of your opinion of the organisation, a TEDx event for Plymouth is a big deal and carries a lot of weight. It’s why we received over 60 speaker submissions and sold out of our tickets in under a week and with no speakers announced!

We’ve set a relatively high bar for our next event and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.