Here’s what happened when Ginger Founder Sarah Lloyd-Hughes took to the stage of TEDxHult to deliver her TEDx talk “Goodbye Good Girl”…
As a trainer of aspiring inspiring speakers, the opportunity to speak at TEDx Hult was both an exciting and a slightly nerve wracking one. With all TEDx talks being recorded for posterity, I wanted to make sure I did a good job and I certainly wanted to follow my own principles as a speaker trainer…
That meant accessing my own authentic message; speaking from the heart; connecting with the audience and delivering something memorable. I gave it my best shot! I’ll let you judge for yourself whether I managed it:
5 things I learned (and re-learned) from the experience:
1. 18 minutes is not much!
There is always the desire to provide as much value as possible to your audience, but in preparing my speech I had to edit and re-edit and trim and hone down my ideas into 4 clear stories. I wanted to spend time connecting with key moments, rather than rushing from one idea to the next. That said, for one person who gave feedback, I spent too much time on details when I could have been digging into perhaps some scientific data, or similar.
2. Finding your ‘Diamond’ is key
The best TED talks I’ve seen have one key thread and stick to it throughout. At their best, they should offer something that nobody has ever seen or heard before, but done in a way that is familiar enough to connect to our human values. Meaning that it’s something very simple and very surprising. I worked hard to find a topic I wanted to talk about that I haven’t seen done before – ditching the “Good Girl” – and I deliberately wanted to pull on personal experiences, but I will keep searching for the Diamond; I don’t think it’s quite fully formed yet.
3. My memory works!
This was the first time I used memory techniques I learned from Memory Grand Master Mark Channon (to access a free webinar I did with Mark, sign up to the webinar archive here). This was particularly nerve-wracking because of the strict TED time requirements and because it’s recorded. Yikes!
Yet, I completely ditched the notes and trusted that I could speak from experience rather than memory alone. And it worked. I felt very comfortable, I hit most of my key lines and I enjoyed myself greatly. BUT one thing I forgot to mention was key to the story – the gentleman I mentioned at the end of the story, the one who was harassing me about my height – actually thanked me later for telling him I didn’t want to work with him. So 80% there, but could do better!
4. Passion & connection are key for public speaking that has impact
TEDx Hult was an audience of mainly students and I was swamped with people afterwards telling me how much they resonated with my message. People still remember the ‘cup smash’ and generally feedback has been very positive and supportive about the talk. Thank you! It reminds me once again how important it is to connect with your audience through resonant examples and – crucially – through showing something of yourself to them.
5. Keep it simple
I had visuals to the side of me that didn’t make it onto the video, which I think comes across as a little strange when you’re viewing the video. And some feedback I got was that I could have framed the talk more clearly to let people know what I was building to. Both of these points push me towards the need for greater simplicity. Next time I’ll do yet more de-cluttering of my talk to make sure that every word, every example is as vibrant and as resonant as I can make it.
Practice and feedback are the lifeblood of wannabe inspiring speakers, so I try to see every speaking opportunity as a chance to play and stretch, rather than an end in itself. I hope you enjoy the video and I hope it encourages you that if I can do it, so can you!
Sarah Lloyd-Hughes – Tedx Hult “Goodbye Good Girl”