Earlier this month, Whitespace digital marketer Beth and our head of digital production Olly went along to the TEDxGlasgow 2018 event to take in a range of talks from inspirational speakers, from different perspectives. Event volunteer Beth shares her behind-the-scenes learnings with us, while Olly recommends his three favourite talks which he enjoyed from the audience.


Beth's top 3 learnings:


I’ll let you in on a little secret… ‘Present a TED Talk’ is currently among my top 10 things to do before I die. I’m not sure what it is about these speeches I find so captivating. Perhaps it’s the blend of learned wisdom and inspiration they tend to evoke; maybe it’s the not knowing of what to expect until you’re halfway through the presentation.

The biggest challenge when it comes to TED Talks (asides from picking one to watch) is answering this question; if I were to do a talk, what would it be about?


*Silence resounds*


Fair to say, that I’m yet to figure that out and until I can answer that question, I’ll content myself with enjoying the talks both online and attending the events in real life. Or perhaps, as I’ve done recently, by volunteering behind the scenes to help make a TEDx event a reality.

Having been selected as an event volunteer - I was thrilled, even more so when I found out I was in the Speaker team. They’re the crew responsible for looking after the line-up on the day, ensuring Speakers are backstage on time and ready to walk out onto that great red dot.


Thanks to the behind-the-scenes experience, I’ve decided to share a few learning I took away from the day. Without further adieu, here’s the 3 main things I learnt when volunteering at TEDxGlasgow 2018:


1. Not all the speakers have public speaking experience

I was genuinely surprised to discover many speakers didn’t consider addressing large crowds a regular part of their career/lives. For some reason, I’d had it in my head that everyone who presented a TED Talk was a seasoned public speaker, and therefore, less nervous then the rest of us folk. The experience was actually very varied, and equally, so were the nerves!


2. A good crowd is key to combating nerves

Given the anticipation for TED events is large, the pressure many speakers feel when backstage is understandable. Not only do they want to do an amazing job for themselves and the live audience, but also for every person who’ll watch the talk in the future.  Having a kind, engaged audience builds atmosphere in the room that helps invigorate the speaker onstage; it’s that exact atmosphere which translates into amazing video content. Great TED talks are just as much the result of a great speaker as they are of an amazing crowd.


3. It takes an army of volunteers and a whole lot of passion

Events aren’t the easiest things to run at the best of times, and when you’re an entirely volunteer-based organisation, getting that type of operation off the ground takes a whole lot of people, very passionate about what they do! Being a part of the TEDx family, even just for a day, is something I’d recommend to anyone. Guaranteed there will be challenges, excitement, stress and sweat, but it’ll all be worth it and I dare say - you’ll be ready to do the whole thing all over again the following year!


Olly's top 3 watches:


1. Kirsty Wark on the benefits of working a 32 hour week



2. Jean MackAskill Kerr on improving wellbeing in the tech workplace



3. Nick Earle on the Hyperloop One's 50 minute Glasgow-London commute