Last Friday I spoke at TEDxTaybeh, so I thought I’d share with you my lessons learned preparing a TEDx talk for the first time.
I speak regularly at various events locally and internationally on topics related to technology entrepreneurship, and early-stage investments. But this was different. TEDxTaybeh was the first time I publicly share bits & pieces of my personal story. It was a challenge to offer a view into a subjective experience while attempting to highlight common threads interweaving our individual humanity so that others can connect and relate. Not less challenging was the attempt to capture these common threads in a single overarching idea that’s worth sharing in 15 minutes.
Here are some lessons learned preparing (and delivering) a TEDx talk:
– The process of extracting from personal stories common threads that can resonate with others forced me to look at my own experience in new ways. It allowed me to draw lessons that haven’t been previously evident. Most of these didn’t make it into my talk, but I may share them here in due course.
– Speaking publicly about a personal experience requires some courage, but it is well rewarded. I found that when opening up, others will reciprocate by being more open and receptive to what I have to say.
– It seems that by our nature, we are wired for deeper engagement when listening to a story. Also, story telling is a core part of the Palestinian and Arab culture. A story can be a very powerful way to communicate an idea. It’s about reaching minds through touching hearts.
– I usually speak to the tech and business crowd. The audience at TEDxTaybeh was more diverse. This required content that’s broadly relevant yet neither superficial nor diluted. Therefore, while a TEDx talk may provide a learning and inspiring experience to an audience, in some cases it is also a learning and growth opportunity to the speakers themselves.
– This was the first time that I delivered a talk/presentation overwhelmingly in Arabic. While I still believe that in today’s world, the language of technology and business is English, I now also believe that there is an argument to be made for Arabic. This experience taught me that in order for a message to achieve wider and deeper reach in our region, it has to be communicated in Arabic. Therefore, I will start working Arabic gradually into all of my online communications – starting with this post! (see below)
I’ll add more thoughts here if/when I think of them. Of course, all of the above is completely subjective and specific to one TEDx talk. If you’ve done a TEDx talk before, and have different/additional thoughts, I’m happy to hear from you in the comments section. Also, if you attended TEDxTaybeh or watched the online stream, I’d love to hear your critical feedback on my talk and the event as a whole.
Saed Nashef سائد ناشفA technologist, entrepreneur, and investor, I co-founded Sadara Ventures – the first early-stage venture capital in Palestine – to invest in exceptional entrepreneurs and help them build great companies. This blog is my attempt to capture and share some of my thoughts and experiences along this journey. Read more ...
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