Tomorrow, I will speak at TEDxMU, the TED-approved event happening here at Mizzou. I’m enormously excited to be a part of the speaking list. Astronauts, businessmen, leaders and thinkers will be speaking.
And me, somehow.
Of course, I’m not content giving just any speech. I decided that if I was going to give a TED talk, I was going to make it big.
The advice that I should stay in over my head at all times hit home, I guess.
This is a common theme among my talks. Last summer, I spoke at an event called Disruptathon about a man named Skeet. I had a speaking coach tell me that my speech didn’t make any sense.
I was named runner-up for best presentation.
I spoke in December at NewsFoo. A friend told me that I was an idiot. You’re getting a chance to speak to a big room of powerful journalism folks, and you’re not going to say a single word about your business? You’re going to spend five minutes talking about your mother? That’s just dumb, Dan.
The talk got big applause. Even my friend later conceded: It worked. I don’t know how, but it worked.
So tomorrow? Tomorrow I will get up in front of the TEDxMU crowd and give a 13-minute talk about U2. I will play guitar for the crowd and lead a sing-along, even though I’ve never played guitar in front of a hundred people before, and I’ve certainly never lead a sing-along before.
I do not know how it will go. I hope it will go well. I’ve looked back at my lessons from Disruptathon — know your audience, show (don’t tell), and use your time wisely — and I think I’ve got it down for this thing. I’ve also kept in mind all those times that things have gone horribly wrong. Even in those times, things have always eventually worked out okay.
I’ve practiced the speech. I know the chords to “Elevation” as best I can. When I put public speaking on my List of Things for 2012, and I meant it. No backing down now.
The only thing left is to get up, smile big, be confident and give the most ambitious, most absurd talk I can.