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Ever since I first witnessed speaker after speaker deliver flawless TEDx Talk after talk, I automatically assumed that they must have had a teleprompter or some clever way to access their talk without it appearing obvious. How wrong I was! 

I was amazed when I learned that TEDx presenters must know and feel what they want to say so intimately that they can walk out onto a stage without a podium, notes or visual aids and engage an audience in a humbling way with conviction for 10 or more minutes. 

Unlike actors who can hide behind a character, TEDx presenters share from their experience and personal stories. As someone who just delivered their first live TEDx Talk on February 19th, 2022, I can attest to feeling exposed. You see, I’m someone who is generally found behind cameras, not in front of them. No wonder public speaking is considered to be the number one fear of most people. Myself included. 

Despite being mistaken for an extrovert, I’m actually an extroverted introvert and prefer to be behind the scenes. So, when I was asked if I would consider applying as a TEDx speaker it wasn’t on my To Do list…until, I was encouraged by others who helped me realize that perhaps this could really help raise awareness of the fabulous community, positive solutions and events to be found on the free non-profit sharing hub I represent at

I learned so much in the process of applying and consequently being chosen as a speaker, writing and rewriting my script, and having to memorize every word of my 14-minute talk. I doubted whether I had the ability to memorize a phone number, let alone more than 1000 words in a script where every word matters.

And the delivery of the talk…well, that was the ultimate challenge as it brought back the incredible stage fright I felt when I was encouraged to run as a federal election candidate in 2015 (despite having zero experience in politics, but a strong desire to make things better for people and the planet). 

The level of support provided by the TEDx Surrey team during the entire journey was impressive. Thanks to their incredible coaches, in three short months, I went from wondering how I could succinctly deliver everything that I wanted to say and doubting I could remember it, to the reassuring awareness that my memory is far better than I ever imagined possible and that anything is possible. Solutions really do exist!

by: Frances Litman

Check out Frances Litman’s TEDxSurrey Talk

About TEDxSurrey

TEDxSurrey is an all-volunteer enterprise presenting some of the finest and most potent ideas for the betterment of our world from our home city of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

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