I spent Sunday at a TEDx event in Oxford titled Think Again! An event organised by volunteers who’d arranged speakers to share thinking under provocative titles like ‘Can hospitality save the world?’ And ‘The Cyborg Brain’. I stepped off the train full of expectation and with an empty notebook
It’s a packed day – 20 mins per speaker – up to 5 consecutive speakers in a segment … numb gluteals for sure!
The segments started with promise .. life hacks and love the themes, hospitality didn’t mean more coffee chains … some very powerful personal stories and a few unfortunately very political ones
But more often I grappled to understand the point the speaker was trying to make -searching in the breaks with my colleague for the link to the theme and the advertised ‘mental well being’ strand
Were the speakers passionate, intellectual, engaging? Yes. But I wonder if the need to ‘put on a stage show’ – to be a compelling presence giving a compelling presentation had lead to ‘overthinking’ the messages. Complexity crept in in the form of elaborate storytelling and anecdotes, unclear whether these were fact or fiction for some of the presentations (not all – Dr Julia Shaw was my best pick)
This over complexity impacted the messages for me. I knew the speakers had something important to say – but I was having to work hard to translate it.
It resonated with a conversation I had with a client last week when discussing their previous years strategy launch – how the CEO had the smoke machine and Star Wars music … but the message got lost it all the ‘razzmatazz’
Perhaps we should all just take a step back from our stage persona and really focus on ensuring our message is clear?