After weeks of pulling my hair out over planning, writing, re-writing, and rehearsing my talk... TEDxVancouver is finally over (cue sigh-of-relief). It was my first time speaking at TEDx, and although it was a positive experience, it was also utterly nerve-racking. Now that it's over and done with, I can breathe and reflect back on all the trouble that goes into these talks; is all the stress, pressure, and anxiety really worth the finished product?
Flickr Creative Commons: Photo Credit: Kris Krug
In all honesty, I don't know where I stand on this, I just know I loves me my twitter and my TED. After all, isn't it fascinating that in an electronic age of 140 characters or less and instant news delivered to the palm of your hand, that we still gather en masse to listen to a group of individuals speaking for hours at a time? It's like we go from a culture with the attention span of a goldfish to a group of engaged and inquisitive intellectuals in a matter of moments, and all so we can hear the words of someone who we've never met. What gives?
When it comes down to it, although most of us would rather die than be separated from our smart phones, we are still a culture of speech, and of stories. As great as it is to create a nice succinct facebook post on something that we've been up to, it really doesn't compare with telling someone the news in an offline capacity. There have been countless times over the past year when I get to sit down with a supporter and help them really understand what our movement is all about; no matter how many times they've seen our blog, our website, our Twitter or our Facebook, there's just something SO different about being able to tell them about it in person. It's amazing to see someone connecting the digital dots, in that moment they really and truly "get" it. We're all so wrapped up in our "wired" lives, that we sometimes forget it's really hard to beat firsthand news from a warm body (sorry Skype, there's just no substitute for the real thing!).
What's the takeaway? That speech really is the foundation for our human culture. Stories are what make people tick, passion is what motivates and inspires, and there's no better way to experience passionate stories than straight from the horse's mouth... so to speak. Though there were times that I thought my brain was going to explode from all the pressure, all in all I left the stage with an audience full of new supporters that then took it upon themselves to talk, tweet, and blog their hearts out; bringing the offline experience back to the online community. That's the crux of this. That while my tweets may reach far more quantitatively, my voice reaches far more qualitatively.