Taking on TED

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I’ve often thought I had a TED in me. I just never expected my subject to be insulation. Yet here I am, focusing on retrofit – making our homes energy efficient. I know – I’m as surprised as you.

When I saw the call on Facebook for St Albans first TEDx conference, I knew I had to try. I’m on a mission to have people think climate when getting the builders in and TEDx would be a perfect platform.

I knew it was no easy task to get accepted as a TEDx speaker. I read the instructions very carefully, wrote my submission, rewrote, got feedback, rewrote, pondered, rewrote……………… It took a long time and the cut off was approaching. I over analysed for a little longer before finally hitting Send.

. Then I had to forget about it. Decision time was a couple of months away and life goes on. It was a lovely surprise when I got an email inviting me to audition. Selected out of 190 applicants, I’d got down to 24.

I was an audition virgin

That was the moment I realised that I’ve never auditioned or even done a job interview before. I was in for a new experience! I was given just five minutes to introduce myself and put forward my idea.

Again, I set about writing, rewriting, testing, changing, adapting. I went through a number of iterations before settling on the ‘final’ version. Then it was on to practising. Part of the challenge would surely be sticking to time, so if you saw someone walking along the road talking to herself with a watch pinging loudly it could well have been me. 

Right up to the final hour I was making minor adaptations. In fact, it was on the journey down to the audition that I truly understood my message. A light bulb went on as I drove round the corner to the office: instead of just retrofit, I really needed to talk about…………….

Oops – sorry – not for public consumption – yet……

Waiting to be called evoked a range of emotions. I went from “I can’t do this” through to ‘Come on, you’re 74 years old. You’ve done much worse – just get on with it!”

And you’ll be pleased to hear I stopped speaking just as the five minute timer pinged.

I did it!

The final word came in a phone call from Patricia: congratulations, you’ve been chosen as one of our TEDx speakers. Out came the champagne – this was a big one off the bucket list.

I’ve felt calm and excited until the day I received a message from Leon Taylor congratulating me on ‘stepping into the red circle’. That phrase made it all very real. I was actually going to do this. What was I thinking? Breathe, relax ……………….. memorise…… just get on with it!

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