Last May, I applied to do a Ted Talk through TEDxOneonta on the issue of Nature Deficit Disorder and what it means for our children. I wrote up the description, and recorded a short video, and sent them in. I wasn't sure how it would be received, but I was hopeful and hey, 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' right?
It was early June when they let me know I had been accepted, right as the Summer Camp season was looming large. I felt honored for the opportunity to share my ideas with a larger audience, and I later learned that over 70 other people had applied as well. I was nervous, because I knew that I needed every second to prepare for this unique event that was quickly approaching in September. Even with summer camps, timber framing and life at Hawk Circle, I knew I had to do my best on this talk.
Compressing ideas like Nature Deficit Disorder and how to prevent it into 13 minutes was daunting. There is so much to say about it, and I worried I would feel rushed, or share too much, or share in a way that would be boring, so this talk literally kept me up at nights! I read books about TED speaking, and listened to podcasts that focused on various people's experiences. I watched a TON of TED talks on YouTube, to try to get a feel for the rhythm and style that seemed to work best.
I learned that there are a lot of talks out there that aren't all that good. I also saw that there were a bunch that were excellent, with hundreds of thousands of views, by excellent speakers who were amazing. This actually increased my pressure, because I wanted to do my very best, and not make some of the mistakes that I saw or heard others making at the same time.
I made my first draft and then recorded myself just reading it, kind of slowly, to see how it sounded and how it felt. I made a private/secret Facebook Group, with a few of my friends who knew a bit about public speaking, who could privately give me feedback on it and let me know what they thought I could do to make it better. I made changes based on their thoughts, and practiced speaking in front of Trista and Javi over and over for a while too, just to see how hard it would be to stay focused and stay on track. (It was SUPER HARD!!)
I found myself listening to both my own talk and many others, and decided I needed some professional help, just to give me feedback as I was getting nervous that I was going to stumble or maybe just not quite feel it was as good as I could make it. I found a great speaking coach, Terri Winston, from Ontario, who helped me out both online and in person. That made a huge difference.
I ended up changing the talk in significant ways a few days before the event, and that upped my pressure to internalize it, and get each part just right. For about seven days, I ate, drank, slept and worked while thinking of this talk. It was intense. It was a massive relief when the day came and I completed the talk.
It was amazing being in front of a crowd, on a stage, for such a prestigious organization, and sharing these ideas. It was a big deal for me, to get recorded and to feel that feeling of being under the potentially harsh focus of the public eye. Throughout the entire time, I tried to remember that my message was what was important, and not 'me'. It was the children, and the families, that were the real focus of this event.
I'll write more about the Natural Advantage and Nature Deficit Disorder next, but for know, I will let my talk speak for itself, and see what you all think.
Leave a message or 'like' on my video, if you like it, because it will help spread this message to others, or leave a message here, or send me an email! I would love to know if it impacted you in any way, and hear your thoughts or feelings.
We have a lot of work to do, but there is hope!