TED Prep

img_1785I will be speaking at TEDWomen next week Thursday. This is the main TEDWomen conference in San Francisco, which features a large, live (sold out!) audience, and will be broadcast to many TEDxWomen events around the world. The theme, “It’s about time,” is near to my heart. The line-up of other speakers is…well, it’s fun to be the least famous person on stage, right?

So I am quite excited about it, and want to do my best. I have been working with the TED team for a few months on my talk, and coming into the final stretch, I have been practicing it multiple times per day (fortunately, at 12 minutes, this is not as grueling as it sounds). I generally practice in my bathroom so I can watch myself in the full-length mirror. I know there are different schools of thought on this as a speech practicing method, but it works for me. I have tried the speech several times with a stop watch running, so I can see when I hit what material. The idea is to assure myself, as the clock is counting down on stage, that I am on time.

I have also spent a lot of time thinking through my outfit. This is not an easy decision. I want to be reasonably comfortable and approachable, but not casual enough to be sloppy. Solid colors work best on video. All white is out, not that I have ever worn all white beyond my wedding day, but all black is generally out too. I do have a fair number of black dresses — including one that made my finalist round — but currently I am thinking a deep blue shell (sleeveless) with a pair of nice black pants and my fancy speaking shoes (bone-colored stilettos — they go on right before I go on stage, and go off right afterward. If there were no consequences I would probably wear running shoes for my entire life). Do you have any go-to outfits for big events?

I am speaking toward the start of the conference, which I’m quite happy about, because it means I’ll be able to relax and enjoy the rest of it afterwards. My favorite part of conferences like this is listening to other speakers and seeing how they execute their craft. I’ve heard TED really puts on quite a show at these curated events, and in any case, San Francisco is beautiful. I’m hoping to figure out some good running routes near downtown so I can explore the place. Tips welcome! And if anyone reading this happens to be attending TEDWomen in person, I’d love to meet you there! Feel free to email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com.

Photo: Michaelmas daisies in bloom.

15 thoughts on “TED Prep

  1. Congratulations for speaking at TEDWomen! When I realized you would be speaking in my area I looked up the conference but it was out of my budget. Conferences in San Francisco are always great, it’s such a lovely place and it’s great to have an excuse to go. I’m in South Bay but don’t get up there too often.
    On the outfit, I think jewel tones always look great on you, so deep blue sounds like it would work well. I have a go to grey designer dress for speaking type engagements, it’s just a little longer and looser than standard shift which makes it look very sophisticated, but it’s tight enough it makes me stand up straight and has a great high shawl neckline detail that makes it memorable. It also takes a variety of heel heights. It was a great find.
    Good luck!

  2. I don’t remember if it was Creative Live or one of your other talks, but I remember thinking that bright blue looks really good on you. Good luck 🙂

    One of the best speakers I’ve ever seen is James Whitaker from Microsoft – he did a very interesting talk with an Australian scientist about speaking style and stage presence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKtMwmWv6Q0

  3. Running in the Presidio in SF is the best! It’s not near downtown, but if you run in the early morning, before 7 am, it is a quick bus ride or Uber in low traffic. My favorite starting point is from Arguello Blvd in Pacific Heights. Take the path by the clubhouse, follow it past the Goldsworthy spire art, stop and admire the view from the National Cemetery Overlook (follow the path to the right), take the road by the houses on Washington Blvd, and check out Immigrant Point Overlook. The most serene, eucalyptus-filled there-and-back 4 mile-ish route.

  4. You and Sandi are the only ones I am familiar with from the entire lineup so in my book you qualify as a Rockstar. I look forward to seeing the talk if it will be made available afterwards.

  5. Congrats and best of luck on the TEDx event! I hope you’ll be able to share the final video.

    I think that I’ve read 168 Hours three times in the last few months, and have recommended in to several people I also check in on the blog every week or so, and I now have several weeks of time logs that I need to sit down and analyze. I really love your work.

    In fact, I put a bunch of these ideas together for a ten-minute speech that I gave to my Toastmasters club earlier this month. Funnily enough, the title was “It’s about time!” The speech was pretty good, but I know yours will be a lot better. I can’t wait to see it/hear about it!

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