Three standouts from TEDx Melbourne

Image Credit: Teresa Noble 

Image Credit: Teresa Noble 

This week TEDx captured the minds of Melburnians with their ‘Rebels, Revolutionaries and Us’ conference and I was lucky enough to see the action in person.

The theme is extremely relevant to today's current society, where productive rebels and revolutionaries are needed to help inspire change and instigate positive change to create a more inclusive world.

After listening to countless TED talks during my morning commute, I had a rough idea of what to expect - obviously great speakers and compelling presentations are to be expected from any TEDx event - but the day was much more than I expected.

It’s going to be pretty hard to succinctly report on all the amazing talent who took the stage but I’ll try. Here’s my top TEDx experiences from the day:

1. The atmosphere

Let’s be honest, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre isn't the most luxe or exciting of venues, but the speakers and events team managed to transform the convention centre into an energetic and exciting forum. The event was spaced out well and nothing was overly complicated to find. The day wasn’t just TED talks - virtual reality and live music added additional dynamic to the day, to the point where Electric Fields had people standing up and dancing!

The food and beverage offering was also a cut above the usual conference fare. Having catering at an event is one thing, but when you have some of Melbourne’s top chefs like Adam D’sylva (Coda) and Frank Camorra (MoVida) serving you food, it’s a whole other ball game - event planners, take note.

2. Every speaker managed to capture the audience in a unique way

Firstly, can we take a moment and imagine how nerve racking it would be to speak in front of 1000 + people? To overcome this and present a kick-ass talk takes some pretty incredible people, and some killer preparation. I can only imagine how many hours each presenter rewrote, reread and rehearsed their content and it definitely paid off. Every speaker managed to capture the audience's attention in a unique way, so it wasn't simply five hours of someone talking at you. Dr. Catherine Ball was one of my standout speakers of the day; she engaged with the audience and her humor was authentic and did not come across as staged or planned. She managed to talk about gender inequalities in a humorous way which was refreshing. Another stand out was Ed McManus, CEO of Powershop Australia, who challenged the audience to think why our country is resisting transitioning to clean renewable energy. I think a lot of individuals could use some tips from these presenters - both in the quality of their talks and the talk content in general.


Live in this moment. And this moment is you.
— Deng Adut


3. The standout speaker of the day was Deng Adut

Deng Adut already had my heart before this day, but he managed to re-capture it all over again. In a TEDxMelbourne first, he was interviewed onstage rather than presenting a solo speech. If you ever need a reminder to be humble and grateful, pick up his book ‘Songs of a War Boy’ and count your blessings! Despite being conscripted as a boy soldier at the age of six and experiencing traumas too horrible to imagine, Deng has managed to “forgive his enemies”, “celebrate everything in [his] past and celebrate [his] failures”. Deng’s strong spirit rippled throughout the room and left everyone inspired.

All in all, TEDx Melbourne was a fantastic, thought-provoking event and I suggest subscribing to the TEDx mailing list so you can secure tickets for the next round of TEDx Melbourne.