Tips For A Successful TEDx Experience

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.”

  1. “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.
  2. 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.
  3. “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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.




Master Your To-do List With Todoist

Say it with me, folks. Todoist. To. Do. Ist.

One word. Three syllables. It’ll change your work life. Here’s how it changed mine:

Rewind three years. I had reached a new level of busy-ness at work. Scott had just gotten a big promotion and was working ’round the clock, so I was juggling at home, too.

It had long been my custom to pull out a legal pad and pencil each evening and outline my priorities for the next day. Much to my chagrin, my beloved pencil/legal pad organization system just wasn’t cutting it anymore and it was taking TOO LONG. (plus my handwriting is awful … another story for another day)

I started looking for a solution. I had tried and abandoned the task function in Outlook. Evernote and I weren’t friends. I needed something simple and quick that I could access on my iPhone, iPad and PC. I found Todoist after reading some reviews of the best productivity apps online.

With Todoist, I was able to:

  • Update a comprehensive task list in minutes — no more recreating the wheel with pen and paper each afternoon
  • Assign deadlines and priorities to tasks
  • Set up reminders
  • Include project notes and links
  • Add notations about status and assignments

Todoist allows you to create “projects” with tasks underneath. My “projects” are my clients or big things happening outside of work.

My favorite thing about Todoist is how it allows you to filter projects and tasks. For instance, you can pull up projects for a certain day…


Or by a project or client  (I made up a fake example for this post).


You can also pull information by assignments, priority and any of the options below …


For my purposes, Todoist is perfect. It’s simple, doesn’t take lots of time to update and keeps me organized. I often print out my Todoist list, particularly  if I know I won’t have access to my phone or iPad during meetings.

By the way, I enjoyed the free version so much that I did spring for the Premium version. More details on that here.

Let me know if you decide to check it out. I look forward to hearing about your experience and hope it saves you as much time as it has saved me.

Getting Organized. Saving Time.

Last month I wrote about one of my favorite new time saving tools,

Lots of you let me know how much you enjoyed that post, so I’ve decided to share a few more of my favorite time-saving tools and tips.

Before I continue this series I feel the need to offer up a disclaimer of sorts  — I am no more busy than the average PR pro/working twenty-something woman. In fact, when compared with some of my colleagues and friends who juggle family, grad school and more, I’d call my life a piece of cake.

Still, saving time is great for everyone and I look forward to sharing some of my favorite tips and lessons learned with you.