TedX Canberra – Open Mic night

Suzanne Kiraly 12 May 2017

On Tuesday night I not only attended the TEDx Canberra Open Mic night (a bi-annual event), but I also decided that I would volunteer to speak as well, just to get the full flavour of the event.

I don’t know about you, but I am a Ted Talks fan from way back – and I am pleased to say that I have been fortunate enough also to have attended all but one of the annual TEDx Canberra events (I was overseas at the time that I missed one), since its inception. I find this the best kind of inspirational entertainment, education and social event for mixing with people who have ideas worth spreading, as well as people who have the passion for learning them.

It’s fertile territory for sure!

So the idea behind last night according to the new TedXCanberra licensee, Ingrid Tomanovitz, is this:

“The purpose of the Open Mic night is to give people the opportunity to pitch their ideas to our team, in three minutes or less, as a kind of open audition. We do pay close attention to everyone’s ideas and some of them might even end up on our stage.”

The speakers’ line-up last night included:

  1. Fiona Harris, on running with beer
  2. Nicole Goggin, on multiple chemical sensitivity
  3. Lesley Harris, on the importance of giving back
  4. Kristen Holzapfel, on helping the helpers
  5. Lynda Leigh, on driving like a girl
  6. Tony Robinson, on the strategy test
  7. Helen Roe, on digital literacy and democracy in a teen girl’s world
  8. Nicole Godwin, on elephant tourism
  9. Cor Visser-Marchant, on freeing your mind
  10. Melanie Greenhalgh, an anti-inspiration porn campaigner
  11. Roger Smith, a personal experience with cyber crime
  12. Suzanne Kiraly, on words
  13. Emma Grey, on grieving while moving

The TEDx team used www.menti.com (a great measuring tool when you want people to vote anonymously), for the audience to register their responses after each pitch. Melanie Greenhalgh was awarded an ‘audience encouragement award’ at the end of the evening. Her reward – a copy of Chris Anderson’s book: TED Talks (very apt I thought). All presenters received a swish TEDx notepad and pen as well.

As a presenter on the night, it would not be ethical of me to praise any one performance above another or even to comment, but suffice to say that the evening was a lot of fun. There may be one or two invited onto the stage in the future, so watch this space. Of course, we also had drinks and counter meals to sustain us at the wonderful King ‘O Malley’s pub.

Ingrid and her team did a superb job of making us all feel very valued and her MCing skills were excellent, even through some minor technological challenges.

TedX Canberra was started by Stephen Collins, as its original licensee, and he did a superb job. Ingrid took over last year and she has her own innovative ideas of how to make this experience really memorable for all devotees. Make sure you sign up for their newsletter to stay informed. If you have a yearning to speak at a TEDx Open Mic night in the future, I would encourage you to do so – I highly recommend it.

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