This post first appeared on MP&F’s Engage Blog on March 25, 2014.
The art of a scam. Education in Tennessee. Teenagers changing the world. A level playing field for women with disabilities.
Those are just a few of the topics that were covered at TEDxNashville this weekend.
TED is a nonprofit that’s all about spreading really great ideas. Most often, all of that idea-sharing is done in the form of quick 18-minute (or shorter) talks. TEDx events, like the one here in Nashville, are independently sponsored. And for any PR pro/idea junkie, a TED event is a great way to spend a day.
Tickets sold out so quickly this year that I very nearly missed my chance to go. However, the universe smiled on me and I won a pair of tickets from the amazing crew over at 12th and Broad. So, on Saturday morning, my friend and MP&F colleague Erin Mercer and I set out for a day of spreading our horizons with coffee and iPads in tow.
Here are our “Top Five TEDx Tips.”
- “Partner up.” Believe, partner up and orchestrate. According to speaker Marcus Whitney, co-founder of Jumpstart Foundry and Moontoast, those are the steps of a successful hustle. My favorite tip came from the “partner up” step. Whitney encouraged finding a work “soul mate” who thinks differently. Brilliant and true. We use these same principles when we engage new clients and build on projects for existing clients. My vote for best talk of the day goes to Whitney, too.
- Get a good workout in before. There’s nothing like a good workout to prep your mind to focus for a day of new information. Plus, sitting still for hours at a time is a lot easier after an early morning hike.
- “Want to know if you have someone’s attention? Look at his feet.” This was one of the tips from body language expert Scott Rouse. If someone has his feet pointed in your direction, you have his attention. Paying attention to nonverbal cues can help you gauge whether your conversation is being received in the way you intended.
- Bring chargers and a personal Wi-Fi device. We used Evernote and social media apps to take notes and engaged with others during the event. Our iPhones and iPads appreciated the extra juice from our chargers, and the personal Wi-Fi hotspot made posting easier in a room with 1,500-plus people.
- Ideas are meant to be shared. TEDx shares “ideas worth spreading.” We learned a lot more about the speakers and their ideas by following conversations on Twitter and Facebook. We engaged with others around us and online, and we look forward to continuing the dialogues we started on Saturday.