Here we are, in freezing Manchester, heading to the University where on the 17th we’ll finally make the dream come true!
Objective: dry run. Ensure everything will run smoothly and the talks match their expectations.
Alarm at 5,45am to ensure Georgina and I (ps: Georgina is the best supporter ever!) arrive on time. Failed: cold, snow and train delays took us there quite late... never mind, we're full of energy!
The time on the train flew fast as we focus on a final review of (I thought it was!) the perfect script. And yet, every time I read it or rehearse it (I mean, every single time!), changes are needed. Argh, endless perfectionism... But not only that: behind this talk, there's my real, real desire to make people think & act in a new way, so they can see and embrace new possibilities in their lives.
And I won't be happy until I'm 100% confident this will happen.
Now, to keep updating it wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for the 17th March approaching so fast!
I need plenty of time to memorise it, I've never had a good memory!
It's my choice though. There's no rule that says a TED Talk should be memorised, but... English is not my language, the time is really short and I'm extremely emotional. Result: I need to be owning the script in every single detail on that day.
Arrived: we're welcomed by the guy who invited me to speak at TED. I look at him full of gratitude and can't resist the temptation to ask him "why me" and how he found me!
He said he came across my talks in London and was impressed by the feedback from my audience. They often mention my passion, energy and powerful ideas and that's what persuaded him to invite me. Thank you, Kevin, and thank you lovely audience!
We reach the rehearsing area and.... wow, it's impressive (and frightening!).
In none of my talks I ever spoke from a proper, classic stage... scaring & exciting!
It's my turn, I have to rehearse it in front of our own camera so I can evaluate myself, and around 10 people who will provide feedback on content and delivery.
3, 2, 1....wow, I'm on stage. Gosh, it's real. And it feels good... but I can't enjoy the moment I just have to go, go, go... the risk of freezing is always around the corner, just go, Bruna, and don't think. I'm now rehearsing, reading and embodying the few sequences I remember.
They're nodding and smiling, sometimes thinking... good sign, I feel empowered: I'm now in my element - the audience is with me!
18 minutes fly fast and it's time to get off, sigh...
They're all very kind and I can't wait to hear their feedback, I'm sure it will be positive after all the hard work I've put into this!
And... kindly and softly, the feedback I dreaded the most came out of their mouths: it doesn't work.
I've spent countless hours on this script, focusing on each-and-every-single-word, on the analysis, on the research of the evidence, developing the pathos, the ethos, the logos, the scheme, the rhetorical devices I wanted to use and... it doesn't work. I amended it hundreds of times. And it doesn't work. I've studied on the best books I could find. And yet... doesn't work.
It hurts "a bit".
But they are right. They're absolutely right. They're pointing out an aspect of my talk that if not adjusted could ruin the entire effort ☹ I couldn't see that before.
So I have to start again? Si.
A part of me wants to cry, but they're so wise and generous with feedback and suggestions that I'd better listen and take notes.
I sense they have my own success at heart, they trust me as a speaker and they are sure I can do a great talk... enough for me to feel empowered again.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU: never sit down and work on your own for days on your script. Always have someone looking at the script with you once in a while, and not always the same people, as they will soon familiarise with the topic as much as you and won't be able to spot the pitfalls.
TIP: If there's a chance to do an official rehearse and get the organisers' feedback, absolutely go for it, no matter the cost, the effort, the distance (the cold!). It can make the real difference.
TIP n. 2: Bring with you with an energetic friend or colleague who will support you, encourage you and film you! It makes a lot of difference to see how you perform on stage. You may not enjoy watching yourself performing... never mind, do it anyway, it does really help a lot to get better and better.
TIP n. 3: if you, like me, are a speaker or aiming to become one, give your current speeches good exposure. I've been found by the TED organiser because my events are visible online: on social media, by events promotion and my website where I list my future and past speaking engagements.
I'm now writing from the train, back home in a few hours.
It's been a loooong and intense day, I'm physically and emotionally exhausted, but it absolutely worth it.
The countryside is still looking white, the snow is melting slowly... soon life will be back to the usual atmosphere.
This has been the most bizarre March I've ever lived in my life.
In Italy we say that "Marzo e' pazzariello", and it's true: this March is a little crazy, in every sense.
Thank you Jane, Kevin, Erika, Eric, Raine and Ritah for your kind support and for organising such great TEDx event!
And thank you, Georgina, for being such great and energetic company (shall I also say that we boosted my energy level listening to The Black Eyed Peas in the ladies, before I went on stage? Or should that just stay between you and me? 😊)