Recently, I was invited to present at a local TEDx event. It was an exciting and fun experience that I would like to share with you. Today I really want to focus on the experience itself and lessons learned. If you’d like to see the actual lecture on Millennials in the workplace, click here.
The journey to my TEDx talk started at a graduation party for the Masters of Applied Psychology program at USC. I was networking when I made a connection with a graduate who was organizing a TEDx event. We were discussing counter-intuitive research and ideas when I shared my thoughts on all of the stereotypes Millennials face today. It’s a topic that I feel strongly about and have written a previous post discussing. She invited me to speak at the event about this topic and my exciting journey began!
I want to emphasize the importance of networking and follow-up. Just because you have a conversation with someone about a cool project you’d like to be involved in, doesn’t mean it will happen. I sent my new connection a LinkedIn invite shortly after the event. I also sent her an email reminding her of our conversation and my interest in participating.
Surprisingly, getting the invite was the easiest part of this process. It felt like it was meant to be. Preparation, on the other hand, took a lot more time and effort. The idea of this lecture being recorded and posted online definitely made me extremely nervous. I obviously researched the topic extensively. I also reached out to my team at Infor Talent Science to learn if anything was done internally. To support my ideas and theory on the topic, I was able to leverage some of the team’s research in addition to the other research I had found.
I did have to grapple with impostor syndrome during my preparation. While I knew a lot about the topic and did additional research to back me up further, I felt like I was somehow not qualified enough to do a TEDx talk. This feeling increased my nerves but I worked through it and realized I did have a lot to share. It helped me to have the slides finalized and have a talk track drafted to move passed my impostor feelings.
I spent the last week before my talk practicing. I practiced in front of my boyfriend, the mirror, and my cat. It helped me to make my points in different ways over and over again. This was critical to allowing me to not rely on my slides since I knew I wouldn’t really be able to see them.
Don’t let impostor syndrome get you down! I learned that I have something of value to share, especially since I was invited to speak. It’s normal to feel like a fraud when doing something new. Just know that you are there for a reason and embrace the experience!
The day was finally here! I woke up so nervous but also extremely excited. I knew it was going to be a good day. Today, I would get to speak in an exciting forum and would also get to listen to other interesting lectures. Luckily, my talk was early in the day so I could relax and enjoy once I was done.
The morning was full of prep – checking slide formatting on the projector, walking through the process and order, and learning when to get mic’d up. I got to meet the other speakers and network a bit before the event got started. I was also really excited to have the support of my boyfriend, Daniel, and cousin, Roxy, who attended.
There were a few issues that we learned about in the morning, including the fact that we did not have a clicker to advance our slides. I was so grateful that I practiced in front of Daniel and he knew my presentation! Instead of having to rely on the staff working the event, I was able to ask him to actually advance the slides for me. He had incredible timing.
Once that was all settled, the talk itself went off without a hitch. I had such a positive and wonderful audience that helped to distract me from all the cameras. They were smiling and nodding along and it really encouraged me. I felt really proud after I finished – I did it and I didn’t let my self-doubt get in the way!
Relax! If you prepare, it’ll work out. Try not to take these types of experiences too seriously. The little issues that did come up were manageable and, realistically, if I made a mistake, there were going to be no major consequences!
Overall, I am so grateful for this experience and I would not miss an opportunity to do it again! If you are interested in hearing my talk, click here. I also wanted to include links to two of my favorites from our event: one called “Cannabis: Panacea, Placebo, or Poison? and one called “Games Our Brains Play“.
Now, we’d love to hear from you! Comment below with any similar experiences you may have had. Did you ever have a networking event turn into a cool opportunity? When have you ever given a presentation or participated in a new event that made you nervous? How did you prepare? Maybe you’ve also experienced impostor syndrome. How did you handle that? We’d love to hear your thoughts!