TED events are known to be thought-provoking. But what TEDxFultonStreet founder Aaron Sylvan really wanted in planning his inaugural event supported by Finn Partners, was for guests to leave as a different person; with a new or changed perspective. With this in mind, he aptly themed his event Chrysalis, Radical Transformations.
And it was.
Rather than remix the agenda or speakers, I wanted to share living proof that Aaron’s idea for a TEDx event was a success. We were inspired in many different ways; here are just a few:
1. “No” and “Never” are not options. Many of the speakers spoke passionately about fulfilling their dreams, and the challenges they’ve overcome in achieving said dreams. In our world, we have big dreams and goals for our clients, and sometimes there are obstacles in place of making things happen – whether it’s because of a structural issue or fear of doing things differently. When faced with possible roadblocks in making changes or pursuing a new course of action, we’re making sure we say “why not?” every time and creatively remove barriers to achieving bigger goals to move our clients ahead of the competition.
2. Be ok being uncomfortable. One of the best stories came from a QVC pitch woman, who was thrown in front of a live camera – hair literally still in curlers. That segment became the highest grossing sale of the day, and her company has netted more than $200 million since. Her secret: only authenticity helps you connect with your audience. We are taking this advice to all new business pitches.
3. Collaboration. Collab
4. Networking. This was one of my favorite speeches – in college, my friends would always be astounded by the number of people I knew on campus, so much so that they’d joke that “they were in” the network (a throwback to the old VZW commercials). Mark Sackett made a great point when he took a stack of business cards out of his pocket and threw them on the ground. His point? Don’t let the interaction end when you leave an event. If you’re going to spend time speaking to them and exchange cards, do something about it when you get to the office the next day. I personally have already put that into practice, making online connections with the people I met while attending events like the ExactTarget Future of Marketing summit and the SocialRadar NYC launch party.
5. Disconnect. A surprising number of speakers stressed the importance of disconnecting from technology to make real connections. Lori Cheek believes in it so much that she built a dating business around it. TED and TEDx events themselves are conducted in person because the networking and interaction opportunities are almost more important than the speeches themselves.