Over the years TED Talks (technology, entertainment, design), have been growing in popularity, and have a list of speakersthat includes Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Al Gore and Bill Gates. Now Golden local Christina Benty can add her name to that listafter participating in a TEDx conference in Vancouver.
During TED conferences the audience is in the hundreds, but through the organization’s online channels, speeches are oftenviewed by thousands of people, a prospect that would have terrified Benty to death a few years ago.
“I remember when the Olympics were taking place and that was the first time I had a really big audience, and I was terrified,”said Benty, recalling just how far her public speaking skills have come since then.
During her time as a Town Councillor, Mayor, singer in a Jazz Band, and grad student, she developed her public speakingskills. Then slowly, over time, the scale started to tip, and the fear decreased while the enjoyment increased.
“The biggest thing is talking about what you’re passionate about,” she said. For Benty, that passion developed out of her timein politics, as well as through her masters program at Royal Roads University.
And that passion, believe it or not, is asset management.
It may not seem like a hot topic, but the need for managing infrastructure is a growing concern among all Canadianmunicipalities, and Benty has been travelling from coast to coast to speak on the topic.
Public speaking may now be Benty’s prime occupation, but the fear never completely goes away, especially when the prospectof a TED talk is in the works.
“I was so nervous, even during the interview process,” she said. “I was so sure that I didn’t get it.”
She applied for the talk at the request of TEDx, and did her interview via Skype while visiting family in Fort McMurry.
“I was in a room by myself, but there was so much going on and I was distracted. I thought I completely blew it.”
But she was speaking about what she was passionate about, and that came through. She was chosen to give her talk, Leadingfrom your Soul not your Role.
She has given the same speech in various forms at other events, but for the TEDx she wanted to really zone in on her thesis.And it was through a discussion with a woman in Spain on the Camino that she was able to do that.
“This woman asked me what I wanted people to take away from this talk…I’ve realized that this is my sweet spot. If I canfigure that out, the rest falls into place,” said Benty. “I went for a run, and when I came back the entire speech just flowed outof me. It ended up being exactly what I wanted to say.”
Of course once she knew what she wanted to say, she then had to practice. Her final tally…150 times. And they paid off. Shesuccessfully delivered her message, which is to be true to yourself without getting caught up in our titles.
“What it comes down to are those judgments we place on others and ourselves when we look at people for their role and notwho they are,” said Benty.