TEDxAmsterdamWomen Talent Night

It’s been a bit quiet around these parts lately; there has been a lot going on. Those who follow me on Instagram will know that over the past few months I have left my job and become self-employed. It has been a period of rapid growth as I rediscover existing skills while also learning new ones. I have been surprised by just how quickly the course of my business has been set and how clear my goals, dreams and wishes have become.

I am an avid writer and skilled proofreader. That is the core of my business; writing and editing texts for clients. I also write for myself, on all things to do with the topic of inclusivity. I cover racial, gender and LGBTQIA+ issues, body acceptance, and mental health, always exploring these through an empathetic lens. It has been revelatory to tap into the source of exactly which subjects I want to write about and what contribution I want to make to the world.

In addition to my passion for writing, I have always harbored a secret desire to be a public speaker. Like my writing, however, I was unsure what I wanted to talk about. I now have a specific purpose, and I dedicating myself to pursuing it.

In June I had my first public speaking experience at Creative Mornings’ ‘Audience Takes the Stage’ event. It was a digital event and felt so unique to speak to a group of people from the comfort of my own bedroom. 2020 has been quite the year, hasn’t it?

Last week, I had my second public speaking experience ever, and my first one on a stage. Out of a total of 101 applicants, I was selected as 1 of the 10 finalists for TEDxAmsterdamWomen’s 2020 Talent Night.

Each of us had 3 minutes on the stage to pitch a short-form version of our TEDx talk within the theme ‘Courage to Connect.’ 3 short minutes to win over the judges. The winner would receive a spot at the TEDx Main Stage on December 2nd as well as a tailor made mentorship created by the NN Group.

As this was my first time speaking on a podium, there was quite some preparation involved. I was determined to do well, so I practiced. A lot.  I repeated the words over and over, practiced intonation and pauses. We dissected my walk, how I use my hands. We drilled the use of the clicker into my head. I practiced so much that the day before the talk, I was afraid I might lose my voice.

Watching this video and seeing the photos, I am glad I put in the practice. I am proud of how at home I looked onstage. Remembering the evening, I am glad that I had fun. To recall just how much I enjoyed using my skills.

I didn’t win the competition in the end. I will not be on the main stage in December, which, of course was something I had hoped for.

What I did get, however, was a confirmation. I have proven to myself that I have what it takes to be a public speaker.

This may have been my first time, but I am certain it will not be my last.

Watch my talk here:

The full video is on YouTube for a limited time if you would like to see all of the speakers (including, of course, the winner Nadya van der Sluis!). It will, however, be taken down sometime soon.

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