In big TED stages and events, we usually see many adult speakers advocating for important social issues, telling their stories and inspiring others and expressing their visions for a hopeful future. However, many youths often do not have the same privilege to express their perspectives in these public speaking forums.
With the vision of empowering youths to “discover, explore and present their big ideas”, the TED-ED Student talk program inspires young people worldwide to explore their passions, ideas and visions while giving them a platform to present those ideas “in the form of short ted-style talks”.
I am privileged to be a participant of the TED-Ed Student Talk Phnom Penh, a 12-week program focusing on enhancing participant’s public speaking skills and other soft skills including collaboration, communication and more.
Every weekend, a recruited group of students and the program volunteer facilitators would gather together for the workshop. While following the official frameworks from TED, our facilitators tried to make the workshop more interactive by adding team-building activities and games, hands-on exercises and small team discussions. The participants would then share their ideas and progress and we would give constructive feedback to each other, a skill practiced a lot throughout the program.
Towards the end of the program, we couldn’t finish it in person due to the unprecedented hit of the covid-19 pandemic; However, all of us still worked hard to create great presentations.
Throughout this program, I was interested in speaking about many different topics including creative writing, reading, climate change and more. At the end however, I chose to speak about “Essentialism, a productivity skill of doing less but achieving more meaningful goals” because I was inspired by Greg McKeown’s book: “Essentialism, the disciplined pursuit of doing less”.
All in all, the TED-ED Student Talk program was a really impactful experience to me. It enabled me to get outside my comfort zone to work with new people, allowed me to learn new skills and grow as a person and as a public speaker. Despite all, what I love the most is the amazing inspiration I get from other student speakers and facilitators. The diversity of passionate young individuals presenting about many important topics gives me hope towards a brighter future. Ranging from ocean preservation, education system reforms, overcoming your fears and more, each presentation offers really valuable lessons for all of us. The connection and support I felt was what makes this program especially special.