Making the afterglow last longer?
Increasingly, we network by e-mail or through social media. It’s a godsend for shy people. We can listen to conversations and chime in on our own terms. But sometimes, like at the TEDxWaterloo Women event, our connecting is done face to face, handshake to handshake.
As the emcee for TEDxWaterloo Women, it was my honor to be the tour guide for our 20 mile march of discovery. Our speakers brought their big and small ideas to the stage and challenged us to think differently. From poverty to plenty, faith to fact, emotional intelligence to intellectual intelligence we explored the myriad ways women contribute to our world.
If you attended, I hope you found your oxygen and took a long, deep breath of it. And if you weren’t with us, here’s a quick recap of what you missed.
We used breaks & lunches as connection opportunities
Instead of looking at the conference breaks as a simply a chance to fuel up, we challenged ourselves to truly connect with each other. Phones were put away and friendships formed. We listened with our eyes.
Just before our first break, Carol Leaman from Axonify talked to us about leading how we live. For some reason, women think that to achieve leadership they need to be a different person. As women, we have a natural ability to fill many spaces and roles in our lives and do it seamlessly, giving and doing whatever it takes. She encouraged us to be who we are in leadership, just as in life, filling in the spaces that need filling.
We were fearless
I advised attendees that when they get home, they’d be jacked up and ready to make BIG moves. But I reminded everyone: we have a natural instinct to protect people we love from risk and discomfort. When you ask your spouse or mom or girlfriend what they think about your new ideas, the answer may be more about love. Amelia Earhart said, “Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.”
Charlotte Beers told us that we cannot avoid the journey to personal clarity and that we should embrace, take it and grow from it. You can watch Charlotte’s video on TEDxWomen (her segment begins at 17:00).
Jon Corbin questioned why we take so much from women when they give so much to our world. Through his music, he reminded the audience (and all who were watching the Twitter stream) that this was not a woman’s conference – it was about all of us making our world better.
We accepted that great isn’t always the goal
Ever notice the more we stress the more things go …wrong? Forget that old cliché that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Sometimes a good swipe at something (whether it’s the bathroom sink or your business plan) is better than no swipe at all.
Two of our live speakers talked about the stories we tell ourselves and each other and both women compared those stories to super heroes – from very different angles.
Elizabeth Monier-Williams talked about having it all and why we need a new filter. Her analytical, but very down to earth approach walked us through the stories we hear about our real live super heroes, like Hilary Clinton, and compared them to fictional characters, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Dr. Shohini Ghose talked about her amazing super hero power – her invisibility cloak and how she discovered that her invisibility cloak is actually a hurtful power. She explored the power of shedding it. Being visible.
We’re making the day last
Conferences inspire us to change the world just by the sheer force of all that shared energy. It’s called conference afterglow. The sad truth is we lose that shine quickly and failures dot the landscape of the coming days and weeks – that’s called conference hangover.
If you attended TEDxWomen, you’re smart, motivated and creative – and can overcome those hurdles. How can I be so sure? You showed up and invested in yourself.
Our closing speaker, Erika told us to stop apologizing and start being honest with ourselves. She told us to protect the entrance to our blanket forts and kick out the people who don’t belong inside. Watch Erika’s video and Rethink Unpopular.
The TEDxWaterloo Women conference generated more than 600 unique tweets and almost 400 retweets. According to HashTracking, the combined reach of those tweets reached a potential audience of 436,029 followers. Clearly, a lot of people found the ideas worth sharing.
Thank you to all of our sponsors, organizers and attendees – you all made TEDxWaterloo Women an amazing, inspiring event.
Were you in attendance at TEDxWaterloo Women? What are your conference take-aways? Leave a comment below or drop a link to your blog post? I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts and feelings!