My first emotion upon opening my acceptance email from TEDxCherryCreek was shock. I was astonished that I got in. Then, pleasure; I was delighted. I am a professor and I use TED talks often in my teaching. I realized how lucky I was to get this opportunity to spread the word about one of my greatest passions: rooftop agrivoltaics. Rooftop agrivoltaics is the co-location of energy generation (solar panels – the ‘voltaics’ part of the phrase) and food production (the ‘agri’ part of the phrase) on a rooftop. The farm girl in me is thrilled to be able to grow food and generate energy in urban spaces.
I am delighted that I am being trained on how to concisely and effectively tell a story in a manageable amount of time – that really was my primary motivation in applying. This year I don’t have access to extra funds to do professional development. And I am always striving to become a more effective speaker. So this was the perfect opportunity to gain more skills. Plus, I get to use the the final product in my classes!
I speak so often (a side effect of being a professor!) that I sometimes joke that being in front of an audience is my native habitat. So I’m a little nervous about not having an audience – it is the audience that gives me so much energy. Hopefully, my passion for plants carries me through.
Practicing my TED talk has been a kick. In my second week of practicing, I gave it to a group that I volunteer with on the farm at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. They were so excited! And so was I. They had never heard of my topic before so their feedback helped me see how much more background information was needed. Thanks to them, the talk is shaping up to be a more effective and digestible learning opportunity. I’ll likely circle around and ask if I can give it again after I’ve refined it even more.
The biggest surprise to me so far in this process is how effective the ‘formula’ has been for crafting the talk. I have always marveled at how compelling TED talks are but didn’t really notice that most of them followed a similar flow. Practicing these skills will definitely improve my speaking. I’m sure my students will be grateful!