It’s been a week since TEDxCanberra so I figured that I should finally stop talking about writing a blog post and actually do it! Why has it been so difficult to do? 1) I am most definitely not a writer – I am a reader and a talker so writing often feels like a real struggle, and 2) I have felt so ‘full’ since the event that it’s been difficult to distill coherent, discrete thoughts or comments about my experience.
I was part of the organising crew for TEDxCanberra so enjoyed a quite unique perspective of the event. I’m a huge TED fan so when I saw Steve’s call on Twitter for assistance I didn’t hesitate to put up my hand. I think it’s a real testament to the power of the TED concept and brand that a group of people are willing to volunteer much of their time and energy to spreading those ‘ideas worth spreading’!
From the start of the rehearsal on Friday there was such an awesome energy and positivity around the NLA which continued right through the event. I was really blown away at how happy, engaged, cooperative and just plain nice everyone at the event was! Perhaps it’s because TED is based around the sharing of ideas, that TEDx events just attract happy, engaged, cooperative and nice people, but I definitely noticed that at each of the breaks there was a different feel than at other professional conferences I’ve been to.
I was so impressed and awed by the amazing talented speakers that the first ever TEDxCanberra featured. Thank you so much for giving your time, your energy, your money (to travel to Canberra), and your stories. And a big thankyou to the NLA (especially Viv) for providing such a great venue and for your amazing support and assistance on the day.
The day itself felt simultaneously exhausting and energising… Because I was part of the organising crew and mostly because I’m such a mother hen (as I am apparently (affectionately I hope!) referred to by other crew members), I quickly realised that my focus for the day was going to be on the experience of our audience and our speakers and as such I knew that my ability to be fully present (mentally as well as physically) for complete talks was going to be limited. So, to be honest, to provide any thoughts on the content of the talks I’m going to have to watch most of the talks again when they’re posted to YouTube (by myself in a nice quiet spot with a relaxing cup of tea). However, one of the messages that really stuck with me was from Pete Williams’ talk about the rebuilding of the Flowerdale community after the Black Saturday bushfires… when there is no ‘they’, we are the ‘they’. A good reminder about the need to take personal responsibility and action (rather than relying on others) and the strength, resourcefulness and capacity that you can find when you look within yourself and your community rather than always looking outside.
I’ve had the chance to talk to a couple of friends who attended TEDxCanberra about their experience. My friend Em made a comment about how good it was to have the single-stream/one venue format and commented that the three or so talks from the program that she would have singled out to attend pre-event, were not actually the talks that she ended up enjoying the most. Made me think about how much I consciously seek out the blog posts, articles, podcasts and TED talks that I think I’m going to enjoy or connect with, and therefore how much I might be missing out on by always doing this self-selection and not allowing myself to be surprised. Watching a random TED talk a week is something that I’m now going to try to do.
Being part of TEDxCanberra has been such an amazing experience. I’ve learned a lot about myself – what fuels me, what I’m good at, what I’m not so good at (and therefore where I need others around me)… But by far the most positive thing about the event (and all the organisation and activity that surrounded it) was the fabulous organising team I worked with – @trib, @lozz, @nathanaelB, @allidc, @gavintapp, @michaelhoney, and @ruthellison. I have been totally blown away by how warmly I was welcomed into the organising crew (especially given that I hardly knew anyone else before hand) and the trust and support that everyone extended to me. I am so thrilled to have made such great new friends and I look forward to doing more great stuff in the future (including TEDxCanberra 2011)!