I've run three TEDx events and supported four in a mentor/consultant capacity since I moved to Scotland. While this started as a bit of an accident - I've learned a great deal about how TEDx can be a tool for creating transformative spaces. However, I feel strongly that in order for this to happen - the process has to be more meaningful than the finished product.
The masterclass is a great example of this. Since our first TEDx event at the University of Edinburgh, we have used this tool as a way to open up our process and give the speakers a chance to share their talk in progress facilitated by an encouraging and experienced professional. For me, TEDx isn't about an inaccessible stage but instead - a space where brave folks share their stories, whatever their background or experience. TEDx is about the humanity and vulnerability of storytelling.
We ran our TEDxPortobello masterclass last weekend and it was such a special day. 7 of our 9 speakers shared their incomplete talks to an invite-only audience of 40 people. The amazing Mel Sherwood from Grow Your Potential (who has supported our speakers through 1-2-1 coaching) facilitated the masterclass like the pro she is - offering encouragement, useful bits of advice, and fielding comments from the audience.
We transformed the space together. The audience learned more about public speaking and worked terribly hard to give the speakers great feedback to take away. The speakers were able to practice in front of a room of strangers and get useful feedback on their messages through comments and feedback cards. And for the team - it was a great dry run of the main show and has given us a lot of confidence in what we have been working so hard on over the past couple months.
The next day we received a note from an audience member which sums up exactly what we are trying to do.
‘And may I just say that I do admire the emphasis on the overall process, that you guys place. It’s possible to consume TED content online as if the events ‘just happen’. Of course this isn’t so, but one benefits from a reminder. And also making the whole process transparent sends the message that the rest of us might even feel emboldened to have a go ourselves at some point.’ Masterclass audience member