Personal Writing

Raise your hand if you learned something

Hey, guess what? I gave a TEDx talk at the University of Mary in 2016. I had kind of forgotten about it until I found it on Youtube when I was looking for something else this morning. The invitation was inspired by this Forum column I had written earlier that year and because the theme was ARTiculate.

A few thoughts about my TEDx talk:

  • Holy moly–I took repetition to a whole new level! (Would have been nice if someone had said in the creation phase, “You don’t have to repeat the same phrase 400 times.”) Wait! So you do or do not need good art and culture?????
  • Right before I went on, I realized I had a funny snag on my tights, so I took them off so as not to distract the audience. But then I spent the entire talk hoping my knees didn’t look wrinkly. 🙄 The things we focus on that have absolutely no bearing on the intention or the outcome of what we are doing!
  • The two microphones tucked into both of my pockets make the dress look like it’s pulling across my tummy. I don’t care for that.
  •  I used “phone voice” well throughout. When I lived at home, I’d be screaming at my brothers in a kind of (I hate to use this word but it’s appropriate in this context) shrill voice, but if the phone rang, I would immediately switch to a dulcet, calm, lower tone. My stepdad started saying, “D, let’s use phone voice, please.” It was always funny, and we still reference it today.
  • I look kind of tech-savvy (for me) with this PowerPoint. I do understand the very uttering of “PowerPoint” renders the phrase “tech savvy” moot.
  • This talk is too “preachy.” I like the idea of the content, and I obviously still agree with it, but it’s not very joyful or inviting, and it doesn’t actually inspire me to embrace the arts. I’d like to give the content of this talk again but in a much more compelling, warm, inclusive, less shove-it-down-your-throat kind of way.
  • Note to self: stop pointing your left first finger, please, Dayna.
  • I’ve come a long way from this talk in terms of how I think about presenting.
  • That dress, necklace and sweater is clearly one of my go-to outfits. I have worn it about 1,500 times, and it still works well (better without the mics in the pockets, for sure!)

I’m glad to see this talk and to realize that I have grown as a presenter since then. It’s good to see what others see and to have the chance to critically assess my own progress. This talk, while not bad, is not who I am anymore. And it’s not how I talk about the arts anymore. And perhaps that is why I am seeing more success all the time. Rasie your hand if you don’t hate that!

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

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