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Home » Blog » Be the next TEDx speaker

Do you aspire to be the next TEDx speaker? Do you wish to leave your audience with The Aha Moment? Then this is the blog for you. This time on The xMonks Drive, Andrea Sampson, a speaker coach, joined us to share her insights from finding your core idea and structuring your talk, to presenting it to your audience. This is a transcripted version of the conversation we had with her.

Being an Entrepreneur

“I was not an entrepreneur.”

Gaurav: When you said, “I was not an entrepreneur”, what was the sense that you were making, from the word, being an entrepreneur that didn’t allow you to embrace that word fully and completely?

Andrea: When I say, “I’m not an entrepreneur”, it was because of the risks. For me, growing up in a corporate world, I had spent my entire career in that world, where every two weeks, there was a paycheck that was deposited into my bank account and I knew how much money I was going to make. I knew the process of getting promoted or if I wasn’t going to get promoted. I could go and get another job. The risk of not having that is unimaginable to me. 

Entrepreneurs are the bravest people in the world. I never saw myself being that brave even though others did. People used to tell me that I had an entrepreneurial spirit. So in retrospect, I can look back and I can see that I had many of the attributes of an entrepreneur, like risk-taking. I took lots of risks in my business. I was always out on the leading edge, I was always the one pushing the boundaries for my clients, for example, we were doing email before email was really out there. We were doing full-on campaigns in the ’90s. We were doing variable landing pages. I was always pushing boundaries and getting my clients to follow me. People saw that kind of tenacity and saw it as bravery. I never considered it as bravery. For me, it was like “Well, you’ve always got to be looking at what’s coming. And if you’re, if everybody else is doing it, you’re too late. Because it’s done, you got to be ahead of that curve.” And that is an entrepreneurial attribute. 

I didn’t see those things in myself. It was the risk-taking that was terrifying for me. Also, the idea of actually being the one in charge was terrifying. Because even though I was always in senior management in advertising, I was never afraid of taking on responsibility. But being the leader is different than leading a team. So being a CEO, you have to be in front of the public, you have to be the one that’s actually making all of the decisions, there’s no one else to help you. And that is something that I have taken on Talk Boutique, my business solely. 

Lessons of Life

Gaurav: Today, as you stand on that vantage point, and look back, what are the top three lessons that you have learned for yourself?

Andrea: So number one is to take care of yourself and this has been a hard lesson for me. I have always taken care of everyone else, taken care of the business, taken care of all the things that needed to be taken care of. And this past year, with all of the challenges that we have had with a global pandemic, with changes in the business environment, with impacts at diversity, equity, and inclusion standpoint, with sustainability, what I have learned is that if I don’t take care of myself, there is no one who will be able to give all of those things because I have a lot to give in those areas. So, having a consistent routine that includes things like meditation and writing has been incredibly important and the payoff on them has been massive. 

Number two is being a good leader. I have always led with heart, I have led with strength and vision. Those are the pieces of integrity that are really important. Integrity is one of those words that people often misunderstand because integrity simply means that I align to my own values. So, I had to learn what my values are and then align with them. And I can truly say that I have because I do believe in all of the things that I’ve said today, and my actions and my intentions align with those values.

The third thing that I have learned is to be flexible. Flexibility is incredibly important. It is one of the words that I like to play with because flexibility isn’t just in, Oh! we all pivot it. Flexibility is to really learn so much of what I have known for my entire career. And so, I have to be flexible enough to be curious and I have to be flexible enough to be open and I have to be flexible enough to say, “I don’t know the answer.” And those are really hard things. But they are all part of the flexibility that I have to have as a leader in a world of massive changes.

Changing the Social Narrative

Gaurav: One of the reasons why you love working with TEDx speakers and Singularity University, is because somewhere you are contributing to change the social narrative. Tell me more about that. 

Andrea: When I started working with TEDx speakers, I was still in advertising at that time and I was living in a world where we were impacting the social narrative. At that time, I wouldn’t ever have said that. But in retrospect, I can see that now. We are living in a world of fact, whatever fact means. But I started working with TED speakers, and I started to see this other world that I had actually no idea existed. There were scientists, academics, technologists, who were doing the work that was actually changing our world. I remember working with this one gentleman who was working on the worldwide Human Genome Project, which was the project that was looking at resequencing and using the human genome. I didn’t even know that existed, I had no idea that we had this human genome project underway. And then, as he started to explain to me what it meant, you know, it felt like, science fiction. And then as I started to understand how close we were on some of this stuff, I was blown away with what they were doing. 

So, what I understood was that there was this whole other world that I had no idea about, and if I had an idea about it, I might make different choices for myself as an individual, and as a contributor to society. And I started to understand that our media gives us a very biased view. And I think all of us have become much more aware of this concept that the media is mostly giving us a very biased view of what is happening.

They’re giving us a false narrative of what I’m doing. So, there was a need to create a different narrative. If we have only one narrative that’s being controlled through media, who, by the way, are often controlled by other factors. 

What if we had an unbiased narrative and this is where TEDx came in? It was like, wow when you start watching TED Talks, you do see a different world. It was like, “What if we could do more of that? What if we could create a bigger social narrative? What if we could create a good news network? What if we could create the TED version? What would that look like? And what if we could create that in such a way that people really started to see all the good that was happening? What would that do to the world in general?” 

We start dreaming a new dream because we are living a life of story. That is what we are. We are this story. We’re all creating a story. So, if you get to create your own story, which we all do, what story are you going to choose? Are you choosing the false narrative that’s being given to us? Or are you choosing to see all these other amazing things that are happening in the world and constructing? So, I wanted to be able to create that other thing.

About the Speaker

Andrea Sampson is a former Strategist and Consultant who worked in marketing and advertising for over 25 years, presenting and building strategies for Fortune 100 companies. Andrea is sought after to help teams and executives build presentations or pitches because she has a natural gift for creating interesting stories and persuasive information. Andrea’s passion for ideas brought her to TEDxToronto four years ago, where she first contributed as a Speaker Coach, then as the Director of Programming in 2015, and finally as the Conference Co-Chair in 2016. 

Talk Boutique, speaker management development, and representation company was founded as a result of her volunteer work. Andrea was the 2017 Singularity University Canada Summit’s Co-Director. Andrea has held leadership positions with multi-national advertising agencies, advertisers, and major brands. Using her own unique thought leadership expertise and her training as a TEDx Speakers Coach, she currently provides Communication Coaching and Consulting expertise to Leaders, Experts, and Changemakers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why being an entrepreneur is not easy?

Entrepreneurs are among the boldest individuals on the planet. Because of the danger, being an entrepreneur is not simple. It’s unnerving to think about being the one in command. Even though you are a senior executive, you are not scared to take on new responsibilities. Being the leader, on the other hand, is not the same as leading a group.

Why changing the social narrative is important?

Changing the social narrative is important because the media provides us with a biased view. They’re giving us a false narrative of what is actually happening. So, Andrea Sampson decided that changing the social narrative is important so that people have an unbiased view to know.

Why being a good leader is important?

Being a good leader entails leading with your heart, your strength, and your vision. These are the components of integrity that matter the most. Integrity is a concept that many people misunderstand because it simply means that I am aligned with my own ideals. As a result, you must first learn about my ideals and then align yourself with them.

What is the meaning of flexibility?

The importance of flexibility cannot be overstated. It’s one of those words that people enjoy teasing each other with. Flexibility entails learning a great deal of what you’ve already learned during your profession. You must be adaptable in order to be curious and adaptable in order to be open. And those are extremely difficult tasks.

Who is Andrea Sampson?

Andrea Sampson is a former Strategist and Consultant who spent more than 25 years in marketing and advertising, presenting and developing strategies for Fortune 100 businesses. Andrea is in high demand to assist teams and executives in developing presentations or pitches since she has a natural talent for telling compelling stories and providing persuasive data.