Inside the TEDx speaker’s mind

What do you do when you get the chance of a lifetime?

Worry. And sweat.


I was selected to be a speaker for the May 30 TEDx Pasadena Women conference. Being a speaker at TED and TEDx are HUGE goals of mine … so I have to admit: when I received the acceptance, I thought that (perhaps) they had made a mistake and sent the invite to the wrong person. So, I did what I was supposed to do (send in materials, bio, etc), and I waited for the “Oops! Never mind,” email.

When instead, I was given the speaker’s checklist, I knew that I was in.

Between now and May 29 (when we have our dress rehearsal), it’s time to dive into my talk. I already have a first draft, but I know that it’s going to change as the days pass. The folks at TEDx have great coaches who will help be hone my message, and I am sure that my friends will get sick and tired of having to watch me practice. I don’t want to go into this unprepared—TEDx is only the first part of the goal. I want to grace the main TED stage … and soon. And since I am not a household name (yet), I’m going to have to do my best to dazzle the powers that be.

What I am I worried about right now? There are two things: one biological and one mental.

The first is a doozy: I sweat when I am nervous. I sweat a lot. Which is odd, because in every other aspect of my life, I am not a sweaty person. Even when I do press conferences, I don’t sweat. I was never sweaty when I was a performer. But the last thing I want is an HD video of my talk on YouTube with HD focus on my sweaty pits. (“Gee, I think I remember Joelle’s talk. But someone tell that girl to wear antiperspirant!”)

The second? I bet you can guess. Can I pull it off? Is my message powerful enough? Can I deliver it in a way that makes a difference? Will people say: Joelle changed the way I look at the world … ? Will I engage the audience? Will I make people laugh? Am I good enough?

Antiperspirant is the easy part. The rest will take hard work.

2 thoughts on “Inside the TEDx speaker’s mind

  1. Joelle, you are a natural at both speaking and writing. You should never doubt your abilities because when you speak, you are genuine and people listen. Plus, it does help that you are so pretty! Blessings to you ….. there is no doubt that the Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways.

  2. Dear Joelle,

    I saw and heard you speak at a SNAP conference a few years back and was EXTRAORDINARILY impressed with you, what you had to say, and how you said it. Don’t worry about a thing — you are a person of enormous substance, intelligence, insight, ability, and talent. Just work on your text, meditate a bit, visualize yourself achieving what you want to achieve, and know that we folks out here with some remaining brain cells and taste are out here, cheering you on (with both hands clapping).

    All and only the best,

    A. Craig

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