The Amanda Quick Show

Conquering the TEDx Stage: A Journey of Storytelling and Triumph

February 10, 2024 Amanda Quick
The Amanda Quick Show
Conquering the TEDx Stage: A Journey of Storytelling and Triumph
The Amanda Quick Show
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Have you ever found yourself in awe of those who can captivate an audience with their storytelling? I'm Amanda Quick, and I've walked that tightrope, turning my own tale of adversity into a beacon of hope on the TEDx stage in London, Ontario. Join me as I pull back the curtain on the process, from the nerve-wracking application to the final, triumphant affirmation whispered into the microphone: "I did it." My journey is proof that with the right preparation and a story that must be told, anyone can rise from the ashes and make their voice heard.

Every speaker battles the butterflies, but what if I told you that you could stand on a global stage with a steady voice and a calm heart? In this episode, I share the strategies that saw me through the storm of stage fright, including the rigorous practice regimens and the anchoring power of technology and community support. It was a Toastmasters group that gave me the courage, and a frequency device that kept me grounded. My talk, "The Healing Power of Storytelling," became more than just words; it was a message delivered with the conviction of someone who has lived every syllable.

In the aftermath of my talk, I found myself in a reflective state, contemplating the waves our stories send through the world. The discussions moved beyond the stage, inspiring listeners to recognize the power in their own experiences. As I explored the unexpected energetic aftermath, it became clear that the journey doesn't end with the applause. Tune in to this episode for an honest and empowering narrative that I hope will encourage you to consider the impact of your own story and how you might share it with the world.

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Speaker 1:

Hello everyone, welcome back to the Amanda Quay Show. I'm your host, amanda Quay, today's episode. I want to share my experience of landing and giving a TEDx talk. I've just come back from London, ontario, where I delivered my first TEDx the Healing Power of Storytelling which will be aired on YouTube in the near future. But in the meantime, while it's fresh especially, I'd love to share with all of you what that process actually entails, what it looks like, what I learned, all of the things. Now, if you know what TED or TEDx is, you know it's a global platform and the brand TED is about sharing ideas worth spreading. It's often focused on technology, entertainment and other specifically data-driven components, but oftentimes there's also big lessons and learnings and other ideas that are shared. Some of the most famous TED talks are like Benet Brown's, the Power of Vulnerability, which isn't specifically about technology or data, and so it's a platform where ideas get to be shared. The talks are always less than 18 minutes that's the max that TED will ever accept and they all have one idea woven throughout. They're very, very scripted talks, and so it's less rambling and more very, very pointed conversation, and the platform itself has grown so much so that the actual TED events get hundreds of thousands of applicants a year, and each TEDx event, which are the local events with the same branding, often get hundreds of applicants for every single event and each event takes like 10 to 12 speakers. So it's not the simplest thing to get accepted and to do and it's there's a lot of weight and pressure when you actually get that far. And so I want to talk about that, because when it came to me that I was going to be giving a TEDx talk, this was shortly after I'd launched my book as kind of a next step, as another goal to have is to think about if I were to have an 18-minute platform with the world's attention, what would I say, what would I want to share in a talk like that? And I had many ideas coming in and out and you know, lots of things obviously related to what I went through in my story and the journey. And the other thing that's important to note about Ted and Ted X is they do not accept any metaphysical talks, and so everything has to be backed by science, in a sense, and anything that's considered pseudoscience is usually either tagged or flagged or sometimes won't even be posted, and so any kind of spirituality conversations are not. That's just not the platform for it, and so it couldn't. It can't really be about any of those components, but you can weave in lessons and learnings that aren't specifically woo-based. And so, really thinking about that, really thinking about using this platform to share an important message with the world, something I want to be known for, something I want to stand for and you know, I, to be honest, didn't have the exact idea, the exact anything prepared when I actually went out and started applying. I take a very different approach than a lot of people and I don't necessarily just decide this is the one talk and I have to find the one place to give it. Now I went the other direction. I started reaching out to events and I started looking at what they wanted, because not everybody knows, but every single TEDx event carries a theme and they are looking for very specific types of talks that are for that theme and what they're wanting to share in some sense. And so I applied it probably to three, four events that were somewhat close to where I am thinking. Less travel could be helpful, but none of the themes were really spot on that were. It was not this, knowing that this is the one. It was more just what is the application process? Let's try some things. And I really didn't hear back from those. And then this application for this Western U event crossed my inbox and I had less than 24 hours to apply before the deadline. It was I think I'd landed on my inbox at like six o'clock at night and it was due by midnight and I almost didn't apply because of that. But then I saw the theme, and this particular theme was Phoenix Rising from the ashes. It was all about the stories of rising from it all burned down, and I went that's, that's the one, that's my theme, that's my event. I can do this and, with the help of my dear husband, I sat down and basically threw together an application and I trusted my knowing that this event needed a different talk than anything that had been in my head. And I came up with this idea of the healing power of storytelling, in part because it was specifically about what do we, what's the benefit of rising from the ashes? How do we overcome these things? What's the message as we're rising? And I just kept coming back to this idea of storytelling and changing the narrative of the story that's being written, and so I went with it. I trusted that, knowing that this event needed this talk, and I submitted it and I heard back a week later. They wanted to interview me. So it was the first time that happened. That's very exciting, and this was back in November of 2023. And they interviewed me and they had some great questions, because their audience base is students. They really wanted to know how I was going to approach the students, how was it going to make my Phoenix Rising story relevant for the students and what was the lesson that I and the idea that I was sharing in my talk and how all this would be woven through. And I got amazing feedback from the interviews. They they thought I had some really great answers and I buttoned it all up and I said, all right, I'll see you in February, just setting my intentions out in the open. And then I heard back another week or so later that I had, I had gotten a spot and I was invited to speak at their event, and that was exciting in itself. But that's just the beginning and now you have to write the talk. And some people go in, like I said, and they've already written their talk and they know what they're going to say, which is fantastic. But I hadn't done that because this was a new idea, this was a new talk, this was something specific for this event, and not everybody does everything the same. I I've never been able to outline, and even if I do outline, I don't follow the outline when I write my, when I wrote my book, there was no outline, anything I do. It's not outlined, it is very much channeled through. This is what needs to be said, this is how I'm going to say it, and it comes out. And so I sat down to write the speech as I was preparing to meet with the coaches assigned to me for this event, and it just poured out of me, an entire speech poured out of me, and I had gotten pieces of it, you know, the night before, as I was falling asleep and it just poured out, and so I ran with it and I shared it with the coaches and they were just like, oh my god, this is the perfect talk for this event. I said I know right, and they encouraged me to add some more to it and to flesh it out, which I did. And then you have to make sure you stay within a certain time limit. Their request was it to stay under 15 minutes, even though Ted's is 18,. They wanted it a slightly shorter, and each event will be different. Some people want 12 minutes, some people want even less than that, but this event was 15. And so then I had to practice it and I had to time myself and that in itself is a lot of work to flush through and eventually I got my speech to a point where I felt like it was what it needed to be and I started practicing in front of other people, and this was surprisingly challenging as somebody who has no problem talking as it was a kid who talked too much, as a person who has a podcast and has been interviewed so many times and had happy to speak on any and every platform. This surprisingly challenging to give a speech, a scripted speech from memory, in front of other people. I had never done that before and I found myself exceptionally nervous not in my mind, but my body was having like a physical reaction to doing that. I found myself uncontrollably shaking. I couldn't stop it and I try to breathe deep breath. I'm trying not to look at my notes because I don't have distinct memories yet and I'm trying to give this talk in front of my local Toastmasters group and I get through it. But, holy man, did it really hit me how much more work I was going to need to put into this talk, because that did not go like I wanted it to, and I was really grateful for the opportunity to practice in that way, because it's very different to practice your speech in front of the people you live with, or to be sitting in your chair over Zoom, grounded with your feet versus hands free, and what do I do with myself, especially when you've never done so before. And so I came back and I started really recognizing that this speech needed to be so well memorized, so well flushed through, that I could do it in my sleep, because if I didn't have to worry about remembering what I was going to say, I could truly focus on my breath, my groundedness, my presentation, everything else, and I didn't have to focus on remembering. And that felt really, really important. And so I set out to memorize this 15 minute speech, which, if you've never done something like that, it's a very long speech to memorize, very long. I think it's not that big of a deal, but it's five pages long. At 15 minutes, it's a very long speech and I wanted it to maybe memorize, not in chunks but word for word, because of what I was weaving in and how I was saying each thing led up to the next thing and how I was presenting the overall idea. It was very important. It felt very important that it be spoken the way that it was written. And so I started repeatedly just practicing over and over and over and over in my head, speaking it out to myself, recording myself, listening to myself and just keep practicing. And I started to get chunks and I could do chunks, but then I would not remember what came next and I'd have to figure out how to weave each chunk together. And okay, this part always comes after this part. And I would play mind games with myself to try to build these building blocks in my mind of how this all wove together. And it started to stick. Little by little started to get better. I practiced in my head at least once or twice before I went to sleep. Every night I practiced in the bathroom. I would get up in front of the mirror practice, have my speech there if I needed it. But you know, the goal is not to do that. I'm really honoring that. For me, feeling that level of confidence gave my nervous system a breather because I knew I knew I knew this right, that's what I was going for. And about Two-ish weeks before the actual talk I started to get it 100%. I started to no longer check my notes, I started to. If I just sat for a minute I could have the next piece come. And it got easier and easier and easier. I started to realize that if I practiced while I was running every morning that I would get muscle memory involved and I would be practicing while my heart rate was elevated and that was going to support the potential nerves on the stage. And I started to see the benefits in that right. And I just kept going, and going, and going. And then I went back to my Toastmasters group and I gave the speech at this time from memory, in front of everybody, without notes, and it was vastly different and, although they don't know it, I messed up, but I kept going and nobody knew. And that permission that if I mess up nobody will know, they will still think it's a beautiful talk helped me relax, just even a little bit more, just to breathe a little bit more and to know that you know. At that point in a week and a half, I was about to be on the red dot stage. It was just about refinement now at this point, and so I left last week, about a, you know, on the 31st. I left first thing in the morning and headed down to or up, I should say, to London, ontario, to meet the team, to go through the dress rehearsal and to actually give this event. And to say I was not nervous would be lying, because I absolutely was. But I had this level of confidence in what I was doing now because I had practiced so much. I had I had read not just in my mind but out loud. I had practiced standing up. I knew what I was doing with my hands, with my body. I felt grounded. I had all of these other practices to help keep me clear and centered. I knew I had all these people behind me, all this energetic support, and I was ready. And so I went to the dress rehearsal and I got to stand on the red dot stage before which, if, if you ever give a TEDx event, if they don't offer a dress rehearsal, ask, go there today before. Stand there, feel it, look what the audience is going to look like. I want your first time on that stage, especially with the level of weight involved, to be you know the time you're delivering it, because it adds a whole nother layer of just. So I got to deliver it without the big audience there, but with my coaches there and some sound people, and practice that and that went really well. I was feeling good. I was still a little bit shaky, to be totally transparent. I was still had some shum shakes in my feet, but I was able to hold myself grounded and I got to just know okay, I can do this, I can do this, and my intention the day of was to not watch any other talks until after mine. So, like they said, there's like 10 to 12 speakers per event. Mine had 12. We were in four groups of three and I was after lunch, and so the morning ones I didn't even show up, I wasn't even there. I focused on staying in my energy, my speech, practicing Well, I'm putting my makeup on, doing my hair, all the things just being in my space. And I showed up at lunchtime. I met everybody and I was in the third group the last one of the third group after lunch, and so that, like, our window was the most nerve wracking window because I was at the event. Everybody's knowing I'm coming up next. I can feel the nerves of the people who haven't yet spoken, especially the last group. I can feel their anxiety. They're all trying to repeat their speeches in their head. I'm trying to stay in my energy. I can feel the audience just and I remember being like I have to pull everybody out of my field. I have to stay centered. I turned on my frequency device, I focused on my breath, I went into a meditative state and I just grounded myself. I got this and next thing, I know they called my name to go get mic'd up and get ready. And you're kind of half listening to the person before you in why you're backstage, but mostly I'm just visualizing myself rooted to the ground, present, purposeful. I'm not repeating my speech anymore. I know. I know, I know it, I know I can give this speech like it is the back of my hand. And then it's my turn and I go up on stage and there's, you know, the audience isn't packed. I was probably about 250 people total, which is a pretty big audience for your first big speech. And I went out there and I took a deep breath and I delivered the talk of my life and I am so proud to say that I fricking rocked it. I didn't mess up a single time. I delivered it emotionally, powerfully. I knew the audience was going to react to a lot of what I said and I just let it wash right through me. It didn't let it hit me like I did before. I didn't worry about what they thought, it just delivered what I needed to say. I spoke with power and intention and just everything I wanted and I, I just, I just, and I came off the stage. Holy crap, I did it. I think they even caught a clip of me at the end just whispering in the mic. I did it Because it was such a big deal. It was such a big deal and because it was the end of the last session. Then there was a break before the fourth session, so everybody left the theater and all came to talk to me, which I wasn't actually expecting. I didn't know how many of those things worked and I got so much amazing feedback, so much amazing feedback. People were shocked that I had never given a speech like that before and they all wanted to read my book, which was great. I had people asking me if I wanted to make my book into a documentary. I had just all of this feedback and people who were there for other speakers relating to what I was saying based on their own history, and I thought that was really amazing too, because this was a Phoenix Rising event, right. So everybody sharing their rising story of how they rose out of their darkness, and so a lot of people related to what I was saying, whether they had any kind of direct experience. They still related to the message and that was amazing to just be in that that I did it and people received it in the way that I intended and my phone is blowing up from people buying virtual tickets and had seen it back home and my mom and my sister and everybody was watching me and that was amazing. And then I got to relax. I got to take a deep breath a very surreal one and sit and enjoy the rest of the event. And afterwards there was this like why don't you know what to do with myself? Now I don't even know what to do with myself because I did it. I don't need to repeat the speech anymore. I delivered it, it's done, it's out there. They have to do their editing and post-production of the video they recorded and they'll submit it to Ted, but there's nothing more for me to do other than to share that I did deliver this talk and to tell people that when it's live, I will, of course, share it. I want to share it. I would love for you to share it and to spread it even far and wide, because there are so many parts of my story that I want the world to talk about because I'm not the only one, but very few, if any, are talking about it like I am, and I want that to change. I want the awareness to shift. I want people to realize what happens in every single city and how much power we actually have to shape the story and the narrative of our lives. Like I want people to know that you get to choose the story that's being written and that the healing power of that story is your choice, not anybody else's. And how you do this and how I did this and the call to action is really what story are you telling for your life and how are you showing up in that life? And I want the world to really feel that message, and so I'm so excited for it to come out. It likely will take a month or two or more, I have honestly no idea. I may get some pieces earlier, but once it actually gets posted on the YouTube, maybe a little while, and once I share it, of course you all will know. But the experience of preparing and then actually delivering this talk was another level of healing and empowerment than even writing my book and that's something I didn't actually know. I wasn't prepared for that part, because writing my book, publishing my book, launching my book, was one of the most healing things I did. Reliving in detail, allowing it to lift up out of my body and then share my book with the world, to have people resonate with my story, to thank me for sharing my story, that's really fucking healing. But to then take that story and turn it into a 15-minute talk and to deliver it on a TEDx stage and to feel and know that level of impact that this talk will have is a whole other level and it feels, at least to me, like an even bigger gateway and even bigger doorway to what is going to be possible with the way that I want to support and shift and change the world, because we got a lot of work to do and I will speak on every stage if invited to talk about this. But the TED and TEDx stages are one of are seen and revered as one of the most prestigious in a lot of ways, and so to be able to share my message in a stage of that, of that, you know, seen in that way, is it's going to change things, and I know it's going to change things and I'm freaking here for it. And so, if you do have that story, if you have a memory you want to write, if you have a talk you want to give, if you have a message that you want to reach a global platform, a TED and TEDx talk is a beautiful way to do it. Launching a book is another beautiful way to do it. There are so many avenues and that's the beauty really of the world is there's so many avenues and platforms already established that we can use to help build your own global platform, whatever that looks like. And you know, I know that there's more coming and I know that at some point my story will be on film in some capacity. It will be, whether in documentary form or not. It will be out there in all of these other ways because it needs to, truly it needs to be. People need to know they're not alone. People need to know what is happening. People need to know the power they have to choose, that they have the power to choose. They have the power to heal and to change their lives and they have the power to bring awareness to all the fucking bullshit that goes on in the systems today. The level of privilege that the legal system implies, that the safety from your abuser is a privilege, because you must pay to get divorced, whether or not you have the funds to do so, because you must have the right lawyer behind you. It is an implied privilege, whether anybody wants to admit it or not, and that is a problem. And I want to raise the level of awareness so that people know how much this happens and how bad it gets. And even with the level of privilege that I have held, it still was the fight of my fucking life and I will do everything I can to shift that awareness so that people can have these conversations, and that includes speaking on these type of stages talking, sharing, writing, doing everything I can. And I want to encourage anybody else out there, if you have that too, to think about what platforms would listen and hear your message. What would you say if you had 18 minutes of the world's attention? What would you say? How would you get them to hear you? How would you hold their attention long enough that they actually heard what you said and felt something from it, felt some shift in their perception, some change in their awareness that actually made them go, wow, holy shit, she's right, they're right. What are we going to do about it? That's the level of impact that a really good talk could have, and that's my intention is to do more of. It Is to share more and more of the possibilities and the shifts and the changes and the growth that can come from these horrible things, so that we can use them and help other people. And so, with all of that, part two of this conversation, which will come out next week, is what happened after, because it has only been six days now since my TED Talk, and my trip home was insane, like beyond insane, and if you're Facebook friends or on any of my social media, you may have seen a sneak preview, but the trip home was nuts, absolutely nuts, and I am not somebody who believes in coincidences Absolutely not. Everything has an energetic underlying, everything, and I knew that my talk, as I put it out into the ethers would have ripple effects. But I did not expect the literal bomb to go off like it did as I was leaving Ontario and as I was coming back home, to be grounded back in my space. And that is a story for next time, because, holy guacamole, if that energetic experience is a preview for me of what is coming once my talk is released into the big wild world web, I don't even have words. I truly don't. So with that, lots of love to you all. Tune in for next week and I will share what happened after that and from there we'll see what happens next. Lots of love everybody.

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Powerful TEDx Talk Without Nerves
TED Talk Delivery Impact and Transformation
Unexpected Energetic Impact of Talk