TEDxWinnipeg is now entering its eighth year of consecutive annual TEDx conferences — and that makes us one of the oldest continually-running TEDx experiences around. Originally known as TEDxManitoba, we’ve been learning and growing with each annual gathering we run, and last year we started our monthly TEDxWinnipegSalon series to keep us in an idea-sharing frame of mind year-round. One of the areas we’ve really grown in is helping speakers give their best talk possible — even if they’ve never spoken publicly before!

Kerry StevensonOur speaker team is led by Steering Committee member Kerry Stevenson, who spoke about 3D printing at our first event in 2011. Kerry and his team have developed an extremely helpful process of coaching speakers through the development and presentation of their talks. His team has recruited not only past TEDxWinnipeg speakers, but people with experience coaching, speaking, directing theatre, and building effective screen presentations. Every speaker has a “speaker buddy” who helps them through the entire creative and rehearsal process, and is right there with them on the big day — first to encourage, and later to celebrate the accomplishment.

Our site has more information on speaking at TEDxWinnipeg and what type of talks we’re looking for, but in the lead-up to TEDxWinnipeg 2017, we asked Alyson Shane to tell us what she was going through during the process of preparing to speak — meeting her speaker buddy, writing her talk, rehearsing, editing her talk, and rehearsing some more. She gave us three reflections as she was in the midst of all of it and still not knowing how it would turn out. (Though we knew she’d be great!)

Alyson’s reflections were posted on our blog last year, and remain available as helpful advice for anyone who is wondering what it would be like to speak at TEDxWinnipeg. If you’re wondering whether you could do it, or are resisting the arguments of someone telling you that you should do it, these are for you.

TEDxWinnipeg Speaker Experience Part One — in which Alyson says being selected to speak was “exhilarating and terrifying.” She also talks about selecting her topic, what makes a good talk, working with her speaker buddy, and her first rehearsal. About meeting the other speakers, he wrote “Being in a room of courageous, creative, funny, and compassionate people was inspiring, to say the very least, and being around the other speakers and knowing that they’re feeling the same nervousness that I am helped soothe my fears.”

TEDxWinnipeg Speaker Experience Part Two — in which Alyson talks more about preparing and rehearsing her talk, as well as starting to deal with slides for her presentation. Unlike some talks, Alyson’s needed to cover some very personal parts of her story, so she writes in this reflection, “Being vulnerable, sharing my experiences, and saying ‘this is what happened to me’ is really intimidating.” The tone of this post is a bit different from the first one, as you can hear her confidence building!

TEDxWinnipeg Speaker Experience Part Three — in which Alyson talks about the challenge of finding time to rehearse her talk and about looking at her experiences objectively and about how helpful it was to work with her speaker buddy, Amanda Simpson. At the time of this post, she was just one week away from the big day. On her overall experience so far, she wrote, “I’ve found a wider, extended family with the TEDx speakers and organizers. …I feel like I’m part of a larger family now; a big, unique, weird group of people with stories to share who value each other.” Maybe this is why every year at TEDxWinnipeg, you’ll find past speakers in attendance or volunteering with both large and small jobs, remaining a part of the TEDxWinnipeg family long after the event day. For 2018, we’re thrilled to have Alyson’s help on the communications team.


TEDxWinnipeg 2018 is coming up, and we’ll be accepting applications to speak for another week, so time is short to apply! If you have a potential topic you’ve been thinking about for a talk, please take the leap to apply now! Of more than 100 speakers on our stage, nobody has been sorry they did! If you’ve got questions about the suitability of a talk or about the process, you can get in touch with our speaker team directly.