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I thought my coworker was joking when she recommended that I share my research through a TEDx Talk. I thought, who has time to prepare for and give a TEDx Talk? But she was persistent, pestering me for months until the last possible day of open submissions. Reluctantly, I gave her a draft to look over and she went to work, making my writeup more provocative and relevant in a way she knew would shine on stage. A few months later—to my amazement—I was accepted to speak at TEDxMemphis, which ultimately set me on an ambitious journey to transform workplaces.

The moral of this particular story is that you never know where inspiration will come from. More often than not, it strikes when you make the decision to push past your comfort zones in an effort to scale your ideas or career. Perhaps giving your own TEDx Talk could be the catalyst you need to leap towards your own goals.

What are TEDx Talks?
To continue promoting ideas worth sharing, TED created TEDx that enables local communities and individuals to organize events that promote the TED experience. Attendees of TEDx events can expect to hear from experts and innovators in their own community as they cover diverse topics following the TED format.

What was my TEDx talk about?

Over the course of my talk, titled: “Are You Talking to Me? What Women Really Want…at Work,” I shared my SHAPE framework, which stands for save, hard work, advocate, persevere, and educate. This framework takes into consideration all the ways women in the workplace tend to compromise or sell themselves short, resulting in a lack of career advancement even though they are doing so many things to succeed.

5 Reasons to Give a TEDx Talk:

1. Your ideas can change someone’s life.

After giving my TEDx talk, I received floods of messages, texts, calls, and emails from colleagues, friends, loved ones, and complete strangers. They wanted me to know how much my talk resonated with them, and how much my message meant to them. People were actually using the framework I outlined to get in SHAPE. Some were able to save more money, and others had crucial conversations with leadership about their responsibilities, title, and pay. Others learned how to persevere through difficult situations. The takeaways from my insights were seemingly endless, and I was touched to learn just how many lives I’d been able to impact through one seemingly simple talk. Do you have ideas that you want to share?

2. You can tap into a purpose you didn’t know you had.

After giving my talk, several people encouraged me to write a book encapsulating my research. The process had ups and downs (job changes, moving to a new state, a global pandemic), but it took me just one year to finish my manuscript. I’m thrilled to share that my book will be on shelves in February of 2022. The process of writing a book, a book I didn’t even know I wanted to write, was transformational in so many ways, ultimately leaving me feeling more powerful and impactful than I could’ve anticipated. Are you maximizing your impact?

3. You will learn that you have champions you didn’t even know you had.

Immediately after I left the stage following my talk, there was an intermission. I was surprised to learn just how many people came out to show their support for me and my ideas. Community leaders, neighbors, coworkers, and family all showed up to cheer me on, showcasing the incredible support system that had been hiding under my nose all along. Have you considered that you cast a broad shadow on those around you?

4. You will be inspired by those around you.

Sitting in the crowd of a TEDx event as an attendee will undoubtedly leave you feeling inspired and motivated like no other. That being said, the camaraderie between fellow speakers really turned up the heat, sparking the flame that served as an incredible motivator to continue pursuing our goals and growing in our respective fields. Imagine what you could learn from other inspiring speakers.

5. You will grow.

Speaking in front of crowds wasn’t a new experience for me. That being said, the preparation for my TEDx talk was more intimidating than any other event. Not only did I want to make a good impression and leave people feeling inspired, but I wanted to make myself proud. I practiced so much I actually got a case of dry mouth, a symptom of nervousness. During my talk, my mic actually went out, resulting in the need for a handheld mic (you can actually see the exchange in the video).

At the time, dry mouth and mic outages felt like massive obstacles. Reflecting on these events now, they feel more like pebbles in my path, and serve as a great reminder that I can do anything. I use this experience as motivation whenever the nerves of trying something new gets the better of me. How might an experience like this expand your own horizons?

So what are you waiting for to finally get your ideas out there?

Research TEDx opportunities in your area. Write the draft. Share it with a friend. Submit it to your local TEDx event. Because you simply never know if sharing your idea is going to be the act that changes your life, and I’m willing to bet that it does.