We were so excited to be selected for a TEDx talk about MARIO, we knew it would be great for the project, but little did we know the preparation and work that would be needed. The talk was scheduled for the 6th of February, but we also  got a schedule for training, rehearsal and a set of strict deadlines for the drafts of the talk, power-points were given. The first evening we arrived for training with the other people giving talks, there was a great mix of people from all backgrounds. Each of us had to talk for a minute about what we were doing. We realized we were going to have to talk without notes or power-point, that the timing needed to be exact and we had to be engaging. We knew that we had to develop a talk that was interesting, had emotional appeal, information in simple language that would be entertaining as well as informative. The audience would give up a Saturday to listen to us, they wanted to learn, be entertained and have their imaginations ignited.  There was a good team spirit in the group, we felt we were all in it together and there was a real feeling of support. 

The next training involved giving the group the opening of our talk and then getting feedback from a coach on the full talk.  We realized that the first seconds were crucial to fire the imagination, that body language counted and that opening needed to captivate. We watched some great openings from some of the others and tried to understand what would engage. Leaving that day we understood that story telling, being personal, drawing on experience and simplifying knowledge would be the skills we needed to hone to do this well. Over the next weeks to the talk we did our best to develop the talk, bringing in stories from our practice, facts that would make people think and images of MARIO that would make him alive for others.

The day of the talk arrived, the talk was in Smock Alley theatre, a beautiful little intimate theatre, made of stone and wood. The place was full of people setting up equipment, checking cameras, lights, rehearsing words.  The team for TEDx is something to behold, there are the organisers, the volunteers, the speakers. The red circular mat sat in the middle of the stage, it was scary to think that soon you would be standing there in front of the lights frantically trying to remember what you wanted to say. We were scheduled in the afternoon, the morning talks  were engaging and interesting and despite the nerves, enjoyable. All the work had paid off and people were slick and proficient.  Our time came, I don’t think, despite years of presenting, that we had ever experienced a talk with the same pressure to preform. It was the learning of the words that was most challenging. The audience were relaxed and friendly and willing each speaker to do well. That did not lesson our stress. Never has eight minutes seemed so long or our memory of what was said so poor. We will know in a few weeks what the talk is released what it was like. We can both honestly say for now we just don’t know.

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