Ted Talks: Breaking Boundaries
I have always been told that what you sow, you reap, and it is one of the motivational quotes that I live by. Whenever I put myself out there, I really do gain from the experience, and volunteering for Ted Talks has been so much fun.
TED is an organisation that is dedicated to the spreading of ideas. They have powerful talks on all different kinds of subjects, and in loads of different languages. To find out more about TED, you can check out their 'about' link here: https://www.ted.com/about/our-organization/how-ted-works
I have always loved listening to TED talks. Before going to bed, I used to religiously watch about five TED talks before falling asleep. It used to relax me and calm my brain from the buzz of the day. Two years ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to go to a TEDx talk held in London. I loved the experience so much, and being a guest of TED inspired me to want to be part of their team.
When arriving at Warwick, I was very keen to be part of the TED Volunteers. They hold one event per annum, which this year took place this weekend. People come from far and wide and the 1100 seats in Butterworth Hall were filled with guests of all ages and all backgrounds, eager to hear the captivating speeches. After sending off my application process in January and keeping my fingers crossed for about two weeks, they finally accepted me onto the Marketing & Operating team of volunteers. My role was to advertise the event, mainly through physical marketing, as well as play an active role throughout the day of the event. The three weeks proceeding the event, I had to partake in hall runs and distributing flyers. Hall runs consist of going to each accommodation block on campus and distributing the leaflets, explaining to the students what TED is about and encouraging them to buy tickets. Flyering is quite a similar concept, whereby one might go to the Arts Centre or the Piazza, and hand out leaflets to passersby, encouraging them to go to the event. Quite a few will just walk past, and rejection is something that you come to accept, but the majority will take a leaflet and be genuinely interested in the talks. After all, the standard ticket costs a mere £18, which is cheap in comparison to other talks at Warwick, such as Warwick Congress which starts at £30.
The Friday before the event, volunteers helped out backstage as well as with stage decorations. I don't think anyone realises how much effort truly goes into an event before you volunteer to help with it. I spent two hours hole punching the pamphlets, which then had to be attached to the lanyards and then had to be untangled and tied up in groups of tens. When I went to the TED event in 2015 I would have never thought about someone doing all of that, let alone thinking about that there were people designing the leaflets, getting them printed, etc.
The Saturday rolled around and after many briefings and re-runs of the second-by-second master-plans, guests started to come through the Art Centre doors. I was placed on Registration, which meant checking in each guest and providing them with a lanyard, magazine, and a sticker depending on whether they were attending a 'Breakout' session or not. (These came at no extra cost and were one-to-ones with three of the speakers). I later went to the speakers' room, where I would serve them refreshments and talk to them all. This was what I found really interesting, as I got to know the speakers on a more personal level, and I got to ask them the questions I was itching to ask them. Throughout the day, I also managed to go to a few of the talks, man doors, and eat a bacon butty and two cinnamon and sugar pancakes (best part of the day).
Once the talks finished, rounded off by an inspirational speech by Miles Hilton-Barber, a blind man who refused to let his disability stop him from achieving his dreams, we all tidied up the stage and took cute photos all together. I was invited to go to a post-talk meal at Le Gusta, but since it was £17, I decided against it as I was nearly broke.
The whole experience was a positive one. I loved working as part of the TED team and I felt that my contribution was valued. I benefited from the event as I managed to talk to really inspirational people that I feel have now made a great impact on my life. I can't wait to do it again.