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 “Journey to TEDx” interview I spoke to Wendy Sneddon, Property Developer.  If you prefer – you can watch the video of the interview or read the blog below.

“Wendy, how did you find out about TEDxAinleyTopWomen, why did you want to do the talk and what might have put you off doing it?”

Well, I have known you for a long time Cheryl, and been involved with the Find Your Why Foundation for about 5 years.  I found my ‘why’ and have been on several of your training courses.   And you have helped a lot with developing my speaking skills and getting my message out there.  I have been a TED fan for years and never dreamed I would have the opportunity to get involved. 

When I first heard in the group that you had this opportunity, I didn’t initially apply.  I guess, because I help in the group, I felt like it maybe wasn’t fair of me to take one of the places.  I also knew some of the other speakers had been through public speaker training and I felt a bit nervous being in the mix with these speakers.  But the support and training you had given me over the last few years, put me in the best position and I felt I was right up with the other speakers.

When you told me you had the opportunity to speak on the Bafta stage and asked me to help you develop your story, I was happy to help and when I saw you on that stage you were brilliant.  So, what did you choose to speak about for TEDx? 

I started life as a veterinary nurse and I got involved in 2001 with the Links Group which was raising awareness of the link between human abuse and animal abuse.  Having worked in veterinary practices I had seen lots of “dubious” injuries to animals,  but it was still shocking when this information came out. 

One thing that keeps people in abusive relationships when they really should leave is that they don’t want to leave their pets behind as most shelters won’t take pets.  So, I decided we needed to create pet-friendly refuges.  That’s my long-term goal

Your story is amazing and the link to that is below, but this specific talk has brought a lot of awareness to your subject.  So, we are at December 13th, 2019, what was going on for you when you arrived.  Can you share your experience of the day?

So, we got to the venue just as people were starting to arrive.  When I walked into the room it was very daunting, there was the big shoe, the cameras the lighting and I thought – oh shit!  I breathed a sigh of relief when I found I wasn’t on till after lunch.  Listening to all the other amazing TEDx speakers took my mind off it. 

As I was waiting to go on – I suddenly realised that while I had practiced in front of my laptop, I hadn’t stood up and done it.  But all my fellow speakers were so encouraging.  And because I knew so few people know about this link, I knew I HAD to do it, it’s so important. 

I remember specifically at one point in your talk, the sound that came from the room was incredible, and as a Speaker coach, I knew you had nailed it and reached people’s hearts.  I knew that was so powerful – and it is exactly what TED is about – ideas worth sharing.  So, thank you on behalf of the whole audience.  Please click on the link at the end of the interview and see if it affects you in the same way it affected the audience on the day. What happened for you Wendy when that happened.

Well, I thought “Oh, Blimey!” and so I paused really to keep myself together because whenever I rehearsed this I always ended up in tears, and I didn’t want to lose it, I needed to get through the rest.  So, I just paused took a deep breath and then carried on. 

When you came off stage, what happened next for you?  What were you thinking?

Oh my goodness – the sigh of relief!  I sat down and thought – thank goodness for that.  In the break, a lot of people came up to congratulate me and also – more importantly – to say they didn’t have any idea about this. 

It was Christmas coming up then we had the videos coming back to upload to TED. Around the 6th of January your video was one of the first to be approved.  How did it feel?

Well I was blown away, and within a week I had 1200 views, and its at about 1600 now.  It was an amazing feeling and now the message is out there which is fantastic.

What have been some of the positives for you?

So, opportunities have come along.  I did my property training a few years ago and I was contacted by someone from that company who has asked me if I would speak for them.  I have also been asked to speak about this subject at a number of places.

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

I would say absolutely – sign up for it and then work through anything that might hold you back – which is what you did for us.  Not only from the point of view of you helping with the whole TED format etc, but also the help you gave everyone to make their talks amazing.

Watch Wendy’s talk about “How Domestic Abuse Affect Pets” Here  


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