Andrea Olson

BLOG

Andrea Olson for TEDxOkoboji's 1st Annual Conference

November 18th, 2019 | Meet the Speakers

Andrea Olson

"Why Data Doesn't Change Minds"

1st Annual TEDxOkoboji Conference // 22 November 2019

Creating a TEDx Talk has been a process, to say the least. As a TEDx speaker coach, you know what to look for in a talk – whether it wanders or has a solid through line. Whether it has turned into a personal story or a clear idea worth spreading. But evaluating your own work in the same way is another matter. I thought I had a clear idea worth sharing, but just like the other speakers, I also found that my idea was just a starting point. It was necessary to go deeper, and get to the heart of what I wanted to share with the TEDx audience. 

I went through multiple iterations of my talk, and finally landed on one. This was a great relief, as I felt ahead of the game, and began the process of refinement and memorization. But then, as I continued to bounce my talk off colleagues and friends, I could feel something was wrong. It didn’t flow naturally. Even though I had written the entire piece, it didn’t sound like me. I was at a wall. I struggled to find the solution – because it was simple. I’d given others this same advice before – just focus on the idea. So more iterations came and went. Still not there. I started to get concerned and weigh my ability to get my talk completed. It was disheartening.

But I pressed on. And just like the other speakers, finally got to a version that was the right fit. It was an enormous relief, and gave me a chance to reflect on the process, both for myself and the speakers I coached. With the countless number of books, recommendations, tips, and recipes of “how to give a great TED Talk”, there’s one tip that’s rarely mentioned but the most important. Keep going. I hear many people share the fact that they’re seasoned speakers, and that a 10 minute talk is easy. And it’s anything but. TED talks are unique, and most everyone underestimates the challenge that they are. But the key to success is not giving up – and focusing solely on that “idea worth spreading”, because at the end of the day, it’s worth it.

Andrea Olson for TEDxOkoboji's 1st Annual Conference

September 4th, 2019 | Meet the Speakers

Andrea Olson

"Why Data Doesn't Change Minds"

1st Annual TEDxOkoboji Conference // 22 November 2019

As a TEDx curator in Davenport, Iowa, for the last 3 years, I’ve always been behind the scenes, working with speakers to create amazing, memorable talks. When I got connected with the TEDxOkoboji team, it was an excellent opportunity not only to share my experience by coaching speakers and help a new TEDx organization develop, but also a wonderful opportunity to “eat my own dog food” and present a TEDx Talk of my own.  

Having attended the global TED SUMMIT in July of this year, I had the opportunity to receive insight and training on being a speaker coach, gaining unique insights and learning specific techniques. And of course, with this knowledge, I have become my own worst critic. However, it’s an incredibly exciting opportunity and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.  

TED Talks are unique, and they are designed around the principle of an “idea worth sharing”. Having authored 2 books, hosted 2 podcasts, written hundreds of published articles, and have travelled to over 12 different countries, I’ve got no shortage of ideas. The most challenging aspect of creating a TEDx Talk is narrowing it down to one and only one. In preparing for TEDxOkoboji, I knew I wanted to focus on a challenge I’ve seen time and time again – the question of “Why Data Doesn’t Change Minds.”  

We’ve experienced this frustration, whether it be in our personal or professional lives. We make our case, citing studies and facts, creating endless amounts of charts, graphs and spreadsheets, only to have it often fall on deaf ears. While we believe this logical approach makes sense, I’ve discovered there are other, unexpected factors at play, and will dive into not only the ‘what,’ but the ‘why’ behind this befuddling human behavior.

I’m excited for what the coming weeks hold, for both my speaker peers and for the event overall. Having insight to the array of personalities and talks on the docket, it’s going to be one incredibly amazing ride! Get ready to be blown away.

1st Annual TEDxOkoboji Conference // Friday November 22, 2019