For my very impatient readers, here you go, here is the video of my TEDx speech (change the subtitles to English):
For the rest, please read the story on how I was selected to be a speaker on such an event, how I chose the topic and what thoughts and concerns I faced before the talk (you would never guess!).
My name is Yulia, and I have a confession to make – I am terrified of public speaking.
Sure, I am active on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. But recording 10 seconds video is not the same as giving a TEDx talk, agree? By the way, I do not really keep my YouTube channel just because of that – I get super shy on the camera and I start mumbling something incoherent.
I am not asocial or something of that sort, I like to have interesting engaging conversations with people, but speaking in public? No, thank you!
How did I end up being a TEDx speaker then, you ask me?
Well, you see, it was secretly my dream (but shhh).
Every year, when I saw the call for speakers in my native city Yekaterinburg (Russia) I imagined how cool would it be to talk about something important from the stage there.
But the dates never turned out to be good for me, and I was even happy because I had an excuse why I cannot apply.
But this time, when I was scrolling my Facebook feed I saw the new call for speakers and the dates were exactly when I was supposed to be back home!
You see, I am a travel blogger and I go home rarely, like once a year. So, I decided, this time I have no excuses and I should apply. Besides, there was still no guarantee they wouldn’t choose somebody else, right?
One of the organizers gave me a Skype call (I was in Argentina back then), she seemed to like my story and idea. She told me she will get back to me when she will discuss my application with other organizers.
Since then I haven’t heard from her and I figured – ok, they probably selected somebody else..
I already came back home in Yekaterinburg and was actually about to leave to my next destination, Paris, when the organizer gave me a call to ask me if I am still interested to be one of their Tedx speaker.
– Umm, I don’t know… When is the event?
– It is on the 22nd Of April, in a week.
– Ah, then it won’t work out, I am supposed to fly to Paris on the 20th
– Did you buy your tickets already?
– Actually, not yet, I wanted to do it tonight (yes, I am a very last minute traveler)
– Can you change your dates a bit?
– Umm, mmmaybe …
– Great, then you are in! We are waiting for you for the rehearsal tomorrow, please be there at 7 p.m.!
That is basically how it happened, no jokes. Mom, I will be a TEDx speaker!
Wait whaat? I will be a TEDx speaker? But I don’t even know what I am going to talk about, what am I about to do?
I don’t even have an idea worth spreading!
Honestly, I was panicking, partly because I was absolutely not ready, and partly because I was terrified of public speaking.
The first rehearsal was a total fail.
People had their talks planned, they even had their presentations ready…
Me? Well, I only I had a fast draft of my speech, what I could do in one day?
Back then I thought it will be about traveling. Something about how cool it is to travel the world and how everyone should do it, how it opens up your mind etc.
I went on the stage and said something that was absolute impromptu, about how travel is affordable nowadays and how everyone should do it. But to me it was a really miserable mumbling improvisation.
“OMG, it was a complete fail, I will never be a TEDx speaker” – I thought while getting down from the stage.
Luckily, the organizers of the event were really understanding and supportive (thanks so much, girls!). They knew I had an interesting story to tell, I just had to let out the idea of the talk and have some time to properly prepare it.
When I sat down on my chair, one of the speakers whispered to me –
“I went to a couple of countries, I did not like traveling. I like to develop myself in the field I am working in – banks and investments.
I prefer to build a beautiful house for my family than to blow all money on traveling.”
There are people, even if it is hard to believe for me, that do not like to travel. How can you not like traveling?!?
And that is ok, it is my hobby, not theirs. But for my talk, I was searching for a topic that would be everyone’s “cup of tea”. Not only travel fanatics like me. 🙂
And then I thought – traveling is like eating a donut.
If you don’t like it, I can’t possibly convince you that donuts are tasty even if I give a great talk about it on the stage. You just don’t like it. Period.
Talking about it would be a waste of both of our time.
No, I wanted to reach the hearts of everybody, and moreover my final aim was not to make people travel. What was it then?
Maybe I should give a talk about not giving up on your dreams? I know a thing or two about that!
But there are tons of motivational talks out there about pursuing your dreams. And they are all great! How can I stand out?
In this case I am special, because I am one of them! I was born in the same city, probably went to the same university, I had the same opportunities (or even less than some).
You can hardly relate to a successful lifestyle coach from Miami when you live in an industrial city in the middle of Russia with its Russian realities. The advice of those successful speakers won’t be heard as good as from somebody with a similar set of skills and identical background.
And yet, I achieved my seemingly unrealistic dream. They will totally relate to what I said because I am one of them! I won’t leave them a chance for excuses!
I am no Tony Robins (it’s not like I have anything against him, he is a great speaker, way better than me). But in this case, I have an advantage, Tony – I am like them! And you – you are an idol, you are something perceived as unrealistic and unachievable.
I will tell them about the importance of dreams on my own example. And hopefully, the ones that will listen carefully, will get motivated and believe in their own dream.
Surely, it does not have to be traveling, it can be anything they dream about!
How cool would it be if I could motivate even just 1 person in the audience to pursue his/her dream?
It is worth it working day and night for a week to prepare my speech!
I actually took my job serious and attended private lessons of public speaking. The teacher corrected the structure of my speech, my body language (totally forgot about everything when I got on the stage tough). Even if I feel like it was better during rehearsals, without these lessons my speech would be incoherent.
Anyway, here is the final result of my talk:
The video is about the difficulties I went through to achieve my dream to travel the world. Back then I was a little naive girl that did not even dare to dream about anything like this!
Trust me, It is not easy even to come up with an idea of traveling the world non-stop in the environment when nobody ever did anything like that. People are generally negative towards “outsiders”, people that do something different – entrepreneurs, artists, or bloggers like me…
Nevertheless, step by step I got where I am right now.
And if I did it, guess what, – you can too!
It seems like people liked my speech. I had a queue from people wanting to ask me questions. They took pictures with me, and one guy even ask for an autograph!
Watch this speech and please let me know what you think! Share it with your friends too!
Your feedback means the world to me!
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