yau teng yan tedxnus

Sharing inspiration at TEDx – How I did it

A couple of days ago, I had my inaurgral TEDx experience – as a speaker on stage. I’ve always been a fan of TED and TEDx, having attended several events in Singapore over these few years. They are usually a blast, and you come out brimming with new ideas and inspired to go change the world.

So you can imagine how excited I was to have the opportunity to be a TEDx speaker, and be able to share my ideas and story to hopefully inspire others.

It wasn’t as simple as it looked however. That 15 minutes on stage may seem easy, but behind that was probably 40 – 50 hours of effort!

The preparations

I started putting together a draft of my talk about 2 months before the event. I had several ideas I wanted to present, but I picked out one that would resonate best with the audience at the event (university staff and students). Which was that we need to rethink that way we deliver healthcare, and that more people should get involved in healthcare innovation.

Next, I weaved in my personal stories and what I was doing at work with Holmusk (GlycoLeap, a digital diabetes management program). And sprinkle in a good dose of humour at relevant parts, to keep the audience engaged and attentive. I went through several iterations of the talk, with feedback from the organising committee.

After that, it was really all around delivery and practice. I made it a point to wake up earlier in the mornings so I could run through the full thing 1 – 2 times before heading to work each day. Over a period of a month, it built up ‘muscle memory’. The practice gave me confidence to be able to deliver the talk, anytime, anywhere, at a snap of the finger. I’ve learnt the most effortless looking presentations (think Steve Jobs and Apple) actually belie long hours of rehearsals, to get each and every nuance right.

The Actual Day

TEDxNUS yau teng yan

On the actual event day, I actually felt quite relaxed. It was only in the few minutes backstage, while waiting for the previous speaker (a great talk by Jiin Joo, CTO of Garuda Robotics) to conclude, that nerves start to strike. But once I stepped out onto the stage, well everything just fell into place.

There were several inspirational and interesting fellow speakers. One of the talks that struck a chord with me was Maricelle’s. She sang a few songs live on stage, and her vocals were striking. Not in the typical indie-guitarist kind of way. It’s tough making a career in music, particularly in Singapore. So hats off to her for taking a leap of faith, to pursue her dreams and passion. Her personal story resonates deeply with me.

maricelle tedxnus

(You can check out her songs on Spotify here)

Kudos to the TEDxNUS committee for organising the event!

Several people have been asking me where they can watch it. Will update with the video link and full transcript once it’s ready.

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