How I Landed My First TedX Talk in Just 42hrs
On Thursday, I announced that had just confirmed my first TedX talk and that from pitch to confirmation the whole process took just 42 hours.
First, let me say that I am honored to have been accepted to speak at TedX Belfort on Nov 9th, 2018, it is a privilege and I am beyond excited to be doing this.
On top of that, I’m a little nervous too, as I am going to be giving my TedX talk in French.
The question people most ask me is not about why I am doing this in French, but how the hell did you book it in just 42hrs?
Well for those of you who know me, it will come as no surprise that I took a FAST approach.
Focus is about knowing what success looks like, being clear about the goal and the objective, and making sure that you are giving yourself a chance of success.
So the first thing I did was do some research on getting a TedX talk, learning about how others had done it. During that investigation, I came across an article from someone who had been involved in selecting speakers that explained that 90 percent of people applying only talked about themselves, had a talk that was not relevant for the event, or were prepared to talk about anything just to get on the stage.
All of these, they said, were rejected in just the first 2 minutes. I also read an article that said most speakers are booked/confirmed at least 6 months before the event, which is crucial information because If the event is already fully organized my chances of success are zero and it would be a waste of time applying.
Using this information I looked for events that were going to happen in 6 months' time, i.e. Oct/Nov as these would probably be currently looking for speakers.
Accountability is about the Who, and in this case, I focused on who was most important for the talk, and it isn’t me. It’s the organizer and their audience.
Having found the events I researched the organizer, I looked to find out what their interests were, what their passion was, and what was the theme for their event. Then I thought about the topic I could speak on passionately, and that would be a good fit for both.
What could I do that would get them excited about speaking with me and learning more?
You have to keep it authentic, being true to yourself and who you are is critical, as that will also help it resonate so much more.
Simplicity. Ted and TedX talks are simple by design. They are a maximum of 18 minutes and in this time, you have to connect with the audience and then clearly and simply get your message across in a way that benefits them. To show I was capable of doing a talk, I decided that the pitch email needed to do this too. I wrote a short, succinct email to the organizer connecting on a topic of mutual interest and then explained my talk in just two or three powerful sentences, including the benefits the audience would get.
In order to make it simpler for the organizers in France, I also said I would do the talk in French. This makes it simpler for them, no need to worry about whether their audiences would understand. It just takes away an unneeded complication for them.
Transparency is about understanding what is needed to be successful, understanding the challenges, and the level of competition you are facing. Ted and TedX talks are so popular and there are probably dozens if not hundreds of people applying. With this in mind, I applied for all 9 talks that were relatively local to me in that time period, and which were a good fit. It is a bit of a numbers game, but you also need to make sure that the approaches are not generic, they need to be personable and they need to make a connection.
I sent the succinct message at midnight Tuesday. The following day I had a response asking for a call on Thursday. We had the call, in French, where we talked about our common passion, how i could serve the audience, the good fortune over the timing of the email and on that call we agreed that I would speak at this year’s event on November 9th.
From first connections to agreeing the talk was just 42 hours. That’s FAST!
Now the hard work begins. Crafting the talk, and making sure that I choose the right words in French to get the message across powerfully, and here accountability will play a part as this is something that I will need help with, and so my wife Carine is excited to help me with that.
The talk is going to be about overcoming our perceived limitations to achieve our full potential and how to help others do the same.
As a final thought, what I love about FAST is that it can be applied to anything. It works and it brings results fast too!