Memorizing my speech was one of the hardest aspects of preparing for the TEDx talk. I'm used to speaking in many different venues, but usually I'm able to access my notes or the event is casual enough for me to pause or search for the answer. Not so with a TEDx. But I felt confident about my prep work and was ready to hit the stage. However, I made absolute sure that the exact wording of my first line was precise.
The tone of a talk is often set by the first few lines of a speech. And sometimes, speakers will start out their talks with, "Um.. yeah... so... I am... My name is..." That is the worst.
Speakers, please memorize your very first line!
"Before I begin, can I borrow $20 from someone...?"
That was it. That was my line. I then proceeded to look around the audience to see if anyone had a $20 bill that I could use. So after a few moments of tension and pause, I got a $20 bill from the person in the front row to whom I had planted my $20 bill earlier that morning. [Note: never leave things to chance. You don't want to be up there 3minutes into your bucket list TEDx talk and be like, "Do you have a $5? Can you break a $50?"]
Many TED/TEDx speakers try and use a hook as their first line to keep the audience engaged and even a little off-balance. I hadn't seen anyone start out with directly engaging the audience so I figured I would give it a shot. And it turns out that it wove directly into the subject of my talk. And you know what, the kid didn't miss my lighting cue... =D
The day before, at the rehearsal, I found out that there was a professional video crew on site (with 3 cameras!) and that they could cut out any pauses or mistakes. So that set my mind at ease in case I make any mistakes. But as it was, the talk went over very smoothly and there was only one moment where I needed to pause in order to remember my spot in the script. Fix it in post!
I memorized the exact wording of the last line of my talk, because you don't want to misspeak. You don't want to jerk the wheel when you are landing the plane. I don't konw if that's a thing that pilots say, but I imagine that's a good practice. When I was done, I got to say the iconic, "Thank you" and could hear the TEDx applause that accompanies every one of the 100,000 talks on youtube. Is TEDx applause different than every other kind of applause, you ask? Yes, yes it is.
After every speaker was done with their talks, we headed back over to Congress Hall for a reception with the speakers and the audience. And after that, it was time to get back into my car and drive 3+ hours back home. Just in time to see my kids off to bed and call it a weekend.