Miro and I were invited to give a talk at the TEDx Ed Conference in Amsterdam. We said “yes!” Below you will find a post written by our teen intern, Katie Mitchell, who is traveling with us and helping out Miro and I for a period of 6 months with Project World School. Here’s her first post on the preparation process:
By Katie Mitchell
Outlines. We all hate writing them, but we’re all grateful for them in the end.
It’s no different for the outline of a TEDx Talk.
Miro and Lainie had over a month to write their first draft of their speech outline. In this month they’ve hosted a retreat in the jungle, where internet was almost non-existent, and moved from Mexico to Peru. We were also planning upcoming retreats and business ventures whilst they tried to write this outline. Every minute possible there were TED talks playing from their computers; researching. What do they do when there are 2 speakers? What about when it’s just a kid?
March 29th the first draft of their outline was due to their coach. They were full of questions during the coaching session, and he was fantastic.
Q. (Lainie) Should we write an outline, or a full script?
A. Everybody goes about it differently, do whatever feels most comfortable to you. Some people write it all out, some people write it down once and that’s all they need.
Q. (Lainie) What I’m nervous about is not making it about us. All the articles I’ve read say to not make it about us, to make it about the bigger scheme of things.
A. Watch Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford. Your stories can be about you, about your travels, or an anecdote. How do you want people to feel? How can the listeners benefit from your lessons? Drench the talk in a central theme. Make the theme in the title. What will the take away of the talk be?
Q. (Lainie) Is our backstory necessary?
A. Yes, my first question reading it is where’s the depth? How’d you come up with this?
Q. (Coach) What is the take home message?
A. Maybe the fact that learning is a lifelong experience, it doesn’t end when you leave the traditional school setting, you don’t need someone teaching you in order to learn. Also, you’re empowered to learn.
- The problem with two people on stage isn’t who will be speaking, it’s with the person that isn’t speaking! What should they do, how should they act?
- Danger of the talk is making it too dreamland, add some difficulties. Make it more human. Real life lessons they’ve learned. Weave it into the talk. Talk about successes and failures.
- If you want to be associated with a word or concept, repeat it a few times. Explain it.
- Minimize the amount of slides/the use of slides. Use big pictures. Make it really simple. Slides aren’t there to bring across the content of your story, the slides are there to bring across the emotion of the content of your story.
They had to opportunity to talk with Jerry Michalski and get his help, too!
Jerry gave a TedXCopenhagen Talk back in 2012 about trust in the school systems. Check it out here:
He also had some advice:
- You don’t have to actually write a speech after the outline! Do what you always do to memorize talk for a conference.
- Tell stories. Tell stories about what touched you on your travels, the big turning points, and the funny moments. Become okay with being vulnerable.
- Have fun! You’re fun people!
So now what?
A slide show, a story brainstorming session (or 5!) to figure out which of their many stories from 7 years of travel will make the cut, and actually rehearsing the speech.