Diving in to TEDxSummit

Doha at twilight

Last week was a profound experience for me; I attended my third official TED event — the TEDxSummit for TEDx organisers, held in Doha, Qatar.

Me and Hans RoslingBringing over 650 TEDx organisers from in excess of 90 countries together in one place (and maybe one of the few places in the world where this was possible), the TEDxSummit gave us talks from TED speakers including Hans Rosling, Maz Jobrani and Juan Enriquez as well as the opportunity to collaborate and work with each other in powerful ways; we had the opportunity to spend two very immersive days speaking with and learning from each other.

The organisers did me the honor of asking me to conduct two separate workshops; one for new TEDx organisers and another for intermediate-advanced organisers. The feedback I received directly from other participants was extremely positive. I’m keen to hear and read the official feedback when it comes in.

Travelling nearly a day each way to spend a week in a country where everything is unlike your home is a strange experience (not because you’re in the Middle East, which is incredibly interesting, but because Qatar is a nation in flux where a society is still passing through Tuckman’s stages of group development and will emerge at some point in the near future into what I imagine will be a profoundly interesting norming and performing phase).

It’s not hard to spend time with people you like a lot and share head space with. Though it does mess with you emotionally (in good, bad and sometimes confusing ways).

Jarryd, Kristin and AnnekaWhat is hard is the very real emotional amplification that goes on at an intensive, immersive event like TEDActive or TEDxSummit. I think it’s possibly a form of Stockholm Syndrome; though one with a bigger up side (does such a phenomenon have it’s own name?).

There needs to be some post-event introspection to come down off the high and to ensure that the whole “drinking the Kool-Aid” problem doesn’t pervade our post-event thoughts. I’ve done these events three times now and it doesn’t change, but conscious awareness to the affect these events have on you is critical.

Some concerted, objective self-analysis helps you make a better set of post-event decisions on the actions you need to take. I still have really good friends from my trips to TEDActive. I imagine I’ve made another set of friends (and reinforced old friendships) this time.

Thank you to all the fantastic people I met in Doha.

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