Speaking at TedX Brighton is an experience like no other. Everything about the experience is magical. From the connection with other speakers, to preparing our talks, to the moment of stepping onto the red dot. It’s an experience I will never forget. I worked hard on an overarching message with clear calls to action for what people can do to make the world one where we appreciate and value our differences.

Putting together a TedX talk is a process of really exploring a subject and weaving in stories to make it resonate with people. We worked over several months on our talks to create them. Each time weaving in more stories to make the message more powerful.

Then to deliver a TedX talk, you have to know your talk inside out and back to front. It should look and sound like it’s you talking, but actually we all rehearsed so many times behind the scenes. Right up to the time before when I was in a dressing room at Brighton Dome reciting the talk to myself for the final preparations. The video will be shared in a while, so before then, I will share some thoughts of what I spoke about.

We need to value difference more

Who do we listen to and believe? Which side of a story? And do we look for the other side of that story to understand it? Or are we all stuck inside our own heads, our own lives, and our own experiences?

What gets valued is ‘sameness’ over difference. Who looks most like most of the leaders we see around us. Who decides what books we read, what films we get to watch and who gets listened to? The past is glorified with one lens only. So we are told the things that people want us to believe. That great things happened and the leaders were great, but if we look closer there are stories there that we do not hear.

If we are going to value differences more, we need to look within ourselves. At how well we listen to other people, how we judge and define people, and how we behave if someone has a different thought, opinion or idea to us. How quickly do we judge people?

Image credit: Jenny Handy

We each have our own story to tell

When we make judgements on other people, we do that from our own perspective. We need to consider that we each have our own story, experience and version of things. None of us are perfect, we all judge other people and we all have things to learn about our own behaviour and biases.

If we don’t think about those things, there’s a huge risk. The world faces huge problems, so we need to make sure we listen to other people without judging and pay attention to the other side of stories. Otherwise we risk making decisions without considering how they impact different people.

How do you react if you meet someone with a different opinion to you? How do you respond? And are you trying to persuade people you are right and they are wrong? Or are you actually listening to what they have to say? What is their side of the story, and how can you have conversations where you might disagree on something.

Valuing our differences

We can learn to value and appreciate people with different opinions to ours if we try. We need to learn how to cross and reach out to another side of a story and make sure we are really listening. We know it will take time, it won’t be easy and this is all a journey that we are all going on to reach a place of understanding.

We need to learn how to listen to each other, how to communicate with each other, and how to understand that it’s OK to disagree and not hate each other. Look for the learning opportunity. Try having different conversations with people and see if you can reach a place of understanding others.

And if we can do that, maybe we can understand the truth, value and power in our differences.

Thank you so much TedX Brighton, for a totally unforgettable experience. See you next time for more talks and ideas worth spreading on the red dot.

Mo’s TedX Brighton talk will be available as a video in a few months. We will update the blog when it’s available.

If any of this has resonated with you, and you want to learn how to communicate better with different types of people, email hello@watchthisspace.uk