In December 2019, I organised the TEDxAinleyTopWomen event in Huddersfield.  The day was a huge success and 19 amazing speakers gave their first-ever TEDx talk.  The audience were wowed, the speakers were phenomenal, and the organiser went home exhausted but very happy. 

So, who were they – the intrepid bunch of speakers?  And why did they put themselves through the process?  I interviewed all of them, to give you a behind the scenes look at the whole process.  Perhaps you might want to get involved in a TEDx in the future. These interviews will shed light on what it takes, why you might want to do it, and who you need to be, to be a TEDx speaker.

In this interview I spoke to Ruth Driscoll, who helps people to deal with emotionally abusive relationships whether that is in the home, your social circle or at work. If you prefer – you can watch the video of the interview or read the blog below.

“Ruth, what was the background that led up to TEDx for you, and what was going on for you in the lead up to the deadline for submissions?”

Well, we have known each other for a long time, and as a bit of a perfectionist, it took longer than it should have done to get my business going.  I knew what I was doing as a Head Teacher, but when it came to running my own business and becoming a speaker I lacked a bit of confidence.  So, I have to thank you Cheryl for your faith in me and kicking my butt to get out there.

In the lead up to the deadline, I was not 100% satisfied with what I was coming up with.  I was trying to make my very niche talk – which is really around my own personal story – more accessible for a more general audience.  But then speaking to you, you remembered a talk I had done a long time ago about Fear, and when you suggested that might be the right thing for TEDx I knew you were right.

Your story is amazing and the link to that is here, but this specific talk, about Fear,  was perfect for TED.  So, we are at December 13th 2019, you have had to come up north!  Can you share your experience of the day?

Well I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Well, I walked in and immediately saw how much effort you had made in the set up – with the HUGE red shoe and the HUGE TEDx letters and the sparkly curtain behind the stage.  The crowd of supporters including all the other speakers, were delightful.  A lovely touch was the lady who did make up and hair for us.  It gave the day a sparkle of star quality. 

And the audience gave such great feedback to all the speakers – experienced and new.  It was such an equaliser; everyone was able to go up there and shine and give their important messages.

For me it was an inspiring day and it worked so well because of the thought and planning that had gone into it.  It was one of those moments in life you know is never going to leave your memory. 

When you came off stage – firstly I was in tears – it was great to see you with your family support getting your message out there.  But what happened next for you?  It was Christmas coming up then we had the videos coming back to upload to TED.  I was a bit nervous, but the approvals started coming through.  How did it feel when yours was approved?

Well it was really amazing.  To be able to show other people who don’t usually hear you speak, was great.  And it was like waiting for Xmas presents when others were getting theirs approved and everyone on the WhatsApp group was cheering each other on.  It  was exciting and wonderful to be part of.

What have been some of the positives for you?

The huge positives are –  number 1-  you can say, “ I’m a TEDX speaker” – which automatically has a status about it.  And I was actually quite proud of it. 

And also – for positioning for what I do as ‘The Life Liberator’, it was and is perfect.  And the message of my TEDx was so pertinent to the people I work with.  It helps to be able to nudge them into action, to ask them to watch it and that it might move people along their journey to deciding to do something about their situation.

One lady said to me she needed to “hear that message today” – which was powerful.  It’s a means of reaching people who might not know you and know what you do.  You never know what is going to be sparked by it and who you are going to reach, and the ripples of that.

We are putting the link to your talk HERE.  Sometimes it might be hard for someone in an abusive relationship to watch something called – “how to deal with an abusive relationship” and they might not want to watch that.  But a TEDx talk about Fear is something anybody could watch.

Finally, if someone was to get the opportunity to apply to do a TEDx talk – what would you say to them?

For someone who has a message they want to share, one of the really important things is that you have the right support to get that message out with the most impact.  Because you feel vulnerable when you are on a stage.  And I would suggest they speak to an expert like yourself, Cheryl – I have seen what you can do with changing people’s message in a short time, to make it 10x more powerful and impactful.  You are a master at that.  

Everyone has an important message to share, but if you want people to listen, then someone with that expert eye can  give you the transformation.   You’ve done this for thousands of people. 

Watch Ruth’s TEDx Talk Here

Share This

Share this post with your peers.