In anticipation of the speaker and performer applications opening soon for our 2016 Event on March 5, we talked with two of our past speakers – Dr. Ewoldson and Dr. Lisa Cravens-Brown – to share their experience working with TEDxOhioStateU.

Dr. Ewoldsen spoke at our 2015 Event, The Human Narrative. His TEDx Talk, “It’s All About How You Play The Game,” explores his research into the idea that playing video games with a team effort promotes cooperative behavior outside of the digital realm.

What was it like finding out you were going to give a TEDx talk?

It is hard to describe how excited I was when I first heard that I was asked to be one of the TEDx speakers. Of course, I was also anxious about how I would stay under the constraints of the TED format, but the entire experience was wonderful.

How was your experience working with your TEDxOhioState undergrad coach?

As a professor of communication, I have taught public speaking a number of times. So I didn’t think I would need any help. But she helped me to focus on talk so it wasn’t 45 minutes long! It was wonderful working with her and she improved the talk immensely.

What was it like performing your TEDx talk?

Well, it was snowing quite heavily the day of the talk, so I was worried it might even be cancelled (and if it wasn’t cancelled, that there wouldn’t be anyone there). But the show went on and it was exhilarating. The staff had done a good job of preparing us. The practice talks the day before helped get all of the kinks out of the process, and the day of the event everything went smoothly.

How did you feel your talk was perceived?

What I talked about could be perceived as fairly controversial – that playing violent video games can increase prosocial behavior. But the talk was well received. I’ve had people contact me who saw the talk online and ask questions about the talk (including high school students from Europe!). I’ve even been invited to give other talks by people who enjoyed [my] talk.

What were the biggest take-aways you experienced as a result of giving your TEDx talk?

All the amazing people here at the Ohio State University! I was blown away by the talent of the undergraduate students who spoke, and the professors were great as well. But mostly, just the feelings that people brought to their talks and the amazing things they were doing was my biggest take-away…it was wonderful to be a part of everything that occurred that day.

Would you recommend speaking at TEDxOhioStateU to other students, professors, and alumni? If so, why? Any tips/pointers for future speakers?

Of course I would recommend that people apply to give talks! Be prepared for a lot of work (I think my wife was a real trooper listening to me practice the talk over and over and over). But for me, this is an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Anything else you’d like to add or share that I didn’t ask?

The undergraduate students at Ohio State are not given the credit they are due. I have always believed our students will change the world and my experiences with TEDx confirmed that belief. The students did an impressive job putting together the event. The students who spoke were inspiring. I am so proud that I was a part of that experience and that I am here at Ohio State.

To watch Dr. Ewoldsen’s TEDx Talk, click here.

Dr. Lisa Cravens-Brown also spoke at our 2015 event, The Human Narrative. Her talk, “Gender Norms: Always Limiting, Sometimes Deadly,” sheds light on societal repercussions of gender socialization and the task of gender deconstructing.

What was it like finding out you were going to give a TEDx talk?

I was extremely excited! I was nervous because giving a TEDx talk is different from lecturing and teaching. You’d think it’s the same type of thing, but it’s different. Overall I was very excited.

How was your experience working with your TEDx undergrad coach?

My undergrad coach was great. I loved her. She was a freshmen and brand new to the TEDx team, but her enthusiasm and joy for being a part of the team was infectious and it got me revved up for my talk. Faculty may worry about young students coaching with a lack knowledge of the topic the talk is on, but it becomes a great opportunity and the coaches are representative of the audience.

What was it like performing your TED talk?

I was so nervous and it now seems exhilarating in retrospect. My family was there in the first few rows and the auditorium was full. Once I began talking, with the time counting down in front of me, it was exciting to share ideas with such a large group. I could see heads nodding and there was a “Wooo” from back of house. The energy in the room was palpable, even in the third session. 9 minutes flew by. It was a transformative, altering experience.

How did you feel your talk was perceived?

The atmosphere was very positive; people told me they loved what I had said and were interested about the topic. I received a standing ovation even though my talk was controversial. A man who worked with my father told me my father, “is so proud of what you’ve done”. The reception of my talk was brilliant. Although I gave a talk that was both controversial and provocative nobody came to me afterwards in angry space. TEDx is a place where you can go and talk about these provocative things in a positive environment.

What were the biggest take aways you experienced as a result of giving your TEDx talk?

There was such a strong sense of community. TEDx involved students who were focused around thinking. I felt such a strong sense of joy to be a part of a community of forward thinkers here at OSU. I didn’t have much experience with a TEDx event before. Personally, I needed to find a way to take 9 mins of time to structure a talk that was coherent, comprehensive, and important. I didn’t use visuals. I had no notes but didn’t want the talk to sound memorized. I wanted it to be a conversation.

Would you recommend speaking at TEDxOhioStateU to other students, professors, and alumni?

Absolutely. It was a great experience. So many faculty members and staff don’t have the opportunity to interact closely with student organizations and TEDx is full of fantastic students. TEDx provides the opportunity to network and make connections with people. Students have come to me because they saw my talk. TEDx allows a rippling community to spread within OSU, which is one of the whole points of the TED movement.

To watch Dr. Cravens-Brown’s TEDx Talk, click here.

Don’t forget about the TEDx Satellite Event at the Union this Friday at 7:30pm featuring a talk by Dr. Lisa Cravens-Brown!