“No one sees the world like you.”
It’s become the norm to walk away from a TED talk feeling inspired. While it’s easy to think that those speeches come naturally to the activists, educators and entrepreneurs who are invited to the world-famous stage, successful public speaking often requires coaching.
Enter Tricia Brouk, a writer/director of film, TV and theater who is also the executive producer for TEDxLincoln Square. An offshoot of TED, this company showcases the talent of New York City who have a story to tell – and a memorable way to do it.
On Oct. 3, Tricia spoke with Six Degrees Society at the Vera Bradley boutique (shoutout to the incredible gift bags with the must-have patterned luggage tags!)
Your “big talk” can start with a small idea. Tricia guided SDS with a few questions of self-evaluation – we’re so used to asking other people questions that sometimes we forget to check in with ourselves on what’s a priority for us.
Tricia emphasized that showing vulnerability is a big part of finding out what you care about the most and what you stand for. Your values are a reflection of your ultimate story – the kernel of truth and authenticity inside you that wants to be heard by the world.
After the event, SDS interviewed three attendees who shared what their “Big Talk” would be about and how to get there.
SDS: What do you do and how long have you been involved with Six Degrees Society?
JEN PERREAULT: I am a life coach and I have a YouTube channel where I share videos on personal growth and self-improvement. I only joined Six Degrees Society 2 weeks ago, however it feels like I’ve been a part of it for months as everyone is so warm and welcoming.
VICTORIA RODRIGUEZ: I am a running coach, stylist, and leadership/business consultant with my own business The Running Stylist, Inc. I’ve been a member of Six Degrees since May 2017.
ASHLEY JOHNSON: I have over 8 years of marketing experience, which includes: marketing strategy, communications, sales, promotions, PR and digital advertising. I am currently looking for new opportunities within the marketing field. I also run a blog (Copious Style) and IG account (@copiousstyle) in my spare time.
SDS: Was there anything that Tricia Brouk said about creating your own “Big Talk” that resonated with you?
JP: She taught us that the first step to being on the TEDx stage is to craft your story and to make it deep, personal, and unique. This resonated with me because I have been wanting to practice public speaking for a while now and I thought I needed to just find a Toastmasters group and do a year of practicing public speaking. I am now toying with the idea that the message should come first and the public speaking skills can come with practice. It has inspired me to start thinking about the story I most want to share.
VR: The importance of thinking bigger, knowing the message you want to convey and resonating with your audience.
AJ: Tricia mentioned that we need to trust our thought process and our own point of view. I think it is easy to conform to society or say what we think people want to hear, but you really need to be authentically you if you want to be a TEDx speaker.
SDS: Tricia asked us to do an exercise to get to the root of what drives us. Can you share your answer when she asked, “What are you really good at?”
JP: I answered that I am good at finding my life purpose. Even though my idea of how I want to act out my purpose has changed over the years I have always known the direction I need to go in. My life purpose is to change people’s perceptions of the potential for their life on a physical and emotional level. Knowing my purpose allows me to live my life in true alignment with what is most important to me.
VR: I’m good at adjusting (to people, environments, and situations). I’m a social worker by training and have worked with a variety of patients and clients. Ensuring to be open and empathetic to my patients/clients and aware of myself in the given environment/situation, helps me to appropriately adjust to best serve others and reach my personal goals.
AJ: Being observant.
SDS: Tricia said to “Pitch what you’re inspired by, not your business.” If you were to give a big talk on the TEDx stage, what would it be about?
JP: The title would be “Your Past is a Sunk Cost.” The sunk cost fallacy is the misconception that we make our decisions rationally based off of future value of objects when in reality the more you invest in something, the harder it becomes to abandon it. For example, someone may realize through their work experience that they love marketing however they went to school for biology. Although the rational decision may be to look for future jobs in marketing because it brings them more joy they may believe they must have a job using biology because they invested so much money into learning about that field. I see that so many people work in jobs that they are not passionate about and I think the sunk cost fallacy plays a role. From school investments to work history, people let their past define their future when I believe passion and fulfillment should drive their decisions to lead them to their dream future.
VR: Building confidence and creating change through untapped resources.
AJ: I was really inspired by Tricia and started thinking about what I would want to share, and I think it would be along the lines of “breaking the rules.” I won’t give too much away, just in case I decide to take this on one day, but it would touch on my experience of doing everything the “right” way, but still experiencing many obstacles, pitfalls, and a number of highs and lows. I believe if I can step back, evaluate and reflect on my journey over the past 10 years, I will be able to better shape the next 10 years of my life.
SDS: Is there a word / sentence that stuck in your mind from the event?
JP: “Pitch what you’re inspired by, not your business.”
VR: “No one sees the world like you.”
AJ: “Shift how you are perceiving ideas.” I think this is the most challenging aspect of identifying what our big talk would be about. Once we are able to make that shift, we will be able to develop more compelling satellite ideas. It takes time, honesty and digging deep within yourself to get there.
For more inspiration, check out Tricia’s podcast “The Big Talk”.