March 6, 2019
Writer: Virginia Henry
TEDx Rexburg just happened two months ago and was a huge hit! Anyone who wants to experience that again or didn’t get the chance to in January, can attend TEDx Idaho Falls happening this Saturday.
A lot goes into making a production like TEDx successful. An adjunct professor at BYU-Idaho, Maija-Liisa Adams, works to make these events possible. Adams’ primary responsibility is to help coach the speakers and get them ready for the big day.
“What I try to do is help them get rid of the fluff, the extra things, and just boil it down and dig a little bit deeper to what’s the real clear message,” Adams said.
She teaches a communication class called “Professional Presentations.” She quoted the textbook she uses to instruct her students, “If you’re going to give an hour lecture you don’t need as much preparation as you do for a ten-minute talk.”
Adams holds group sessions and individual sessions in order to prepare each person effectively. She can be blunt with her pupils.
“Although we love your story we don’t really care about your story, we care about you because you have solved a problem, and you can be our mentor by us listening to you,” Adams said.
The problems or topics addressed span a large spectrum.
“We always try and vary the program,” Adams explained. “You’re going to have one woman who is a rancher talking about the environment and being green and then you’re going to have another woman dressed in a cow suit explaining why she wears a cow suit often.”
People will also get to hear from the president of LDS Business College, a professor of biology, a conservative talk show host, and many others. There will be 13 speakers but 12 topics. A birth mother and a foster mother will speak together.
“It’s how they both are responsible for the same son and how they came to know each other and what that situation is and how they co-parent,” Adams said.
Adams is also involved in the selection process. She explained it can be done in several different ways. For example, TEDx BYU seeks out their speakers and asks them to speak.
“Here we do a little bit of both … we also bring in nominations,” she said. “You can nominate yourself or you can nominate somebody else.”
To nominate somebody, you need to fill out an application. Adams stressed the importance of good writing. She said if you can’t articulate your message on paper, you probably won’t be invited for an audition.
Even when people are brought in for auditions, usually only half are selected for the actual event.
“Just because you’re not chosen doesn’t mean you don’t have a great idea, it means that we’re trying to put together a program that’s diverse,” Adams said.
The judges have strict rules they have to follow. Each year they must renew their TEDx license. As long as the event and organizers have followed the rules they can continue to use the TEDx slogan and license.
Not only that, but there’s a lot that goes into making this event a success. They have teams planning the location, refreshments, photography, videography, programs, website management, marketing and much more. For this TEDx Idaho Falls event BYU-Idaho’s Soapbox agency will do the filming.
The other amazing aspect of this production is the fact that all of the organizers are volunteers. This requires them to also have to seek out sponsors.
The event starts Saturday, March 9. Doors will open at 2 p.m. and the event will end approximately around 7:30 p.m. For more information and to buy tickets, including student discounts, visit tedxidahofalls.com.