Only four days until TEDx Columbus. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, with all of my time devoted to the talk. I think that I could give a two hour talk with 20 minutes of preparation. However, my thirteen minute talk has probably taken over sixty hours of work so far. Funny how that works!

There have been about 7-8 drafts, and one recorded talk went for more than 25 minutes. Too long. My subject (Patience in Youth Sports) has so much potential, but it also has so much material. The absolute biggest challenge has been determining which material to leave out. I love all of the discussion points and solutions, as well as the anecdotes. But TED is to be precise, tight, and to the point.

Amazingly, I have given about nine or ten practice talks so far. It’s incredible how much these practices have helped. The early practice talks were well received, but certainly very rough in their presentation. My audience, mostly parents at the academy, had great suggestions and ideas on ways to sharpen the talk. With each practice, I have gained in confidence and am very close to the final product.

A few days ago, I had my final coaching session with Ruth Milligan and Meagan Buren (also a speech coach) at Ruth’s office. It was the perfect atmosphere to present my talk and allow them to provide their expert feedback on where I was in the bigger picture. I felt very relaxed and comfortable, and the talk went well. Both Ruth and Meagan felt that I was very close to being ready to present my talk. Like an athlete gaining positive feedback from his coach, my level of confidence was increasing.

Their feedback was mostly in the form of tweaks that I should consider in hopes of presenting my points so that they are clearly understood. I have a few practices planned for Tuesday, one for Wednesday, and then our formal rehearsal is set for Thursday at the Capital Theater. As the momentum builds, I am so excited for Friday to arrive.

TEDx Columbus is sold out, so the energy will be amazing. Be sure to check the TEDx Columbus website later in the week for further information on how you can watch the talks. The list of speakers is fabulous and I can’t wait to hear everyone’s talk! Enjoy!

- Steve Locker