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What is it like to present at a TEDx Conference?

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Author: GSBS | Category: Career Development | January 18, 2017

Dr. Lindsay Bira and Dr. Travis Block spoke to trainees about tips they learned while preparing for their Tedx talks at the latest Career Advisory Council workshop. Both of them spoke live at the Tedx Conference on November 12 in San Antonio.

Tip #1: Have A Strategy

Dr. Bira explained that she worked with a coach before the speech and decided that memorizing the entire 10-minute presentation was the best strategy for her. She said that while this worked for the event, it may not be easy for her to duplicate the same speech again. Dr. Block, however, decided that he didn't need to memorize it and said that the drawback is that every time he gives the speech, it's slightly different.

Tip #2: Don't Give Your Usual Presentation 

One of the pieces of advice they received at the conference was to "not give your usual presentation." Dr. Block explained that most of the presentations we give are horrible so if you think to yourself, I'm going to give a better presentation this time, the chances are you will. 

Tip #3: Have a Takeaway

Instead of approaching the presentation with the goal of delivering as much information as possible, the two had to think strategically about what they wanted people to takeaway from the talk. For Dr. Block, he wanted people to stop for a second to think about how they can impact the community with a billion dollars. For Dr. Bira, she wanted to break stigma around mental health and help others understand how to train the brain.

Tip #4: Don't Back Out Because You Think You Aren't The Expert 

Dr. Bira explained that one of the reasons she was hesitant to give the talk is because she kept second-guessing herself. "Am I really the expert? Am I the best person to give the talk?," Dr. Bira said that this mental roadblock is a reason why people stop themselves from doing the things they want. She realized that giving a TEDx talk was something she wanted to do and that as someone who has been researching this area for several years, she is in fact an expert. It's easy to say "oh, I'm just a graduate student or oh, I have to wait until XYZ moment but the reality is that if you don't seize the moment when you have it, you might miss a huge opportunity."

Tip #5: Find Like-Minded People 

Dr. Bira said that one of the reasons she is where she is today is because of the help she's received from like-minded people and organizations. You need to find a mentor to guide you. A few ways to do this is to find organizations that do similar things to what you are interested in. Dr. Bira explained that when she was a postdoc at STRONG STAR, she started attending the Mind Science Foundation and was asked to speak about mental health and brain development. Dr. Block explained that his favorite quote is from his swim coach who said that "Confidence is thinking you can do something. Hubris is thinking you can do it alone." 

Watch their talks below.  

Dr. Block is co-founder of San Antonio Science, Inc. and an alumnus of the Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. program. He spoke about "How would you spend a billion dollars" at the conference.  

Dr. Bira is a Career Advisory Council member and Assistant Professor of Research at our Department of Psychiatry with STRONG STAR. She spoke about "The Counterintuitive life: WHY we do what we do and WHEN we should do the opposite" at the conference.

Photos from TedxSanAntonio

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