August 23, 2017 - No Comments!

Setting the stage for our speakers: the coaching process

Getting our speakers from auditions to being audience-ready is an important behind-the-scenes task. One of this year's coaches shares her unique process and journey with us.   

Eyes, noses, hair, hands… at the first meeting with the speakers selected for this year’s TEDx East Van stage, I see a blur of people. As they talk, introduce themselves, get fired up about the opportunity, they begin to come into focus for me, become individuals, become stories still to be told.  It’s always fascinating, this distillation from a group to a handful of people to whom I am committed. I want them to be hugely successful and to be proud of what they accomplish.

To get there, to the stage of the York Theatre on September 16th, there are many hours of thinking, pondering, floating of ideas, and shooting some of those down.  My process may not be representative but it’s mine and I know it works. We start by imagining the day of the event, seeing the audience, hearing their applause, feeling their excitement and then we scroll back to figure out the best way to get there.  I like to hear their thoughts about their own Idea Worth Spreading, then take a detour into some performance exercises before we settle back down to crafting the thoughts that will become words, that will become performances, and then memories.

Sometimes the initial idea is rejected or dramatically revised. Sometimes it’s a matter of changing the order of things, adding a bit of this and a bit of that, leaving some empty words and phrases on the floor, ready for the broom to sweep them off.  I see it as a bit of a dance where each of us throws out a couple of taps and then waits to see what is tapped back. Astaire and Rogers, it’s not but there is a rhythm that evolves and eventually, we’re dancing together rather than taking turns. It’s a beautiful thing.

As always, the challenge is not to determine what to include, but what to carve away. All of my speakers are so rich in content, in fascinating ideas and information to be shared, in new ways of looking at the world and at being Human.  The process of becoming a great speaker is a natural quest for humans: to strive, to challenge yourself, to make a connection.

I’m so happy to be part of the dance.

Joanna Piros
TEDxEastVan 2017 Coach

Published by: Diane in Uncategorized

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