Awards & Events

TEDxYoungstown Asks, ‘What’s Next?’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — What’s next? That seems to be a popular question in our region these days. It also happens to be the theme of TEDxYoungstown 2019. Speakers will step into the red circle at the DeYor Performing Arts Center Sept. 7 to share “What’s Next?”

Before we ask “What’s Next?,” let’s take a look at the impact of the 2018 event as it’s had both a practical and a lasting inspirational effect on our community and our speakers.

For example, Jim Donovan’s talk at the DeYor, “How To Trick Your Brain Into Falling Asleep,” has more than 425,000 views on the TEDx channel on YouTube. 

Donovan’s technique, called “Brain Tapping,” helps people relax by employing a simple, creative repetition sequence using a drumming technique.

Other speakers were Cassie Clouser of Poland. Clouser’s topic in 2018 was “How Decisions Can Shape Our Beliefs.” 

For Clouser, the entire process was exhilarating and impactful. Not only for herself, but also for friends, family and individuals she’s never met. 

The act of standing on the red circle and sharing her story made her feel both extremely vulnerable, but also very excited, as if she were an athlete in the zone or in a state of flow, she says.

“That kind of feeling where you kind of go tunnel-vision and it’s just that experience, that’s what the Red Circle feels like,” she says.

Clouser states the process has made her a better communicator and better partner to her friends, family and loved ones. 

While she hasn’t generated close to a half-million views on YouTube, she is very proud of the effect that the talk has had on her daughter’s confidence and ability to better express herself.

“If you go from that feeling of ‘what can I give’ instead of ‘what are people going to think of me’, it helps so much with really being your best self and an authentic connection with the audience,” she says.

On a practical level, Clouser benefited from the coaching provided by the TEDxYoungstown committee, particularly the tips on how to memorize a 12-minute talk. She learned how to section, number and color-code the talk on paper. 

This technique of creating 30 sections, when combined with her physical location on the stage, enabled her to recall the talk section by section. She trained by having her daughters call out a section number to recite.

Another important lesson she learned from the experience is to focus on what you can give to the audience versus what are people will think of you. The good news is “the audience is rooting for you. It’s not a competition; it’s a sharing of ideas,” she says. 

Since TEDxYoungstown 2018, another speaker, Jaietta Jackson, a full-time instructor at Youngstown State University, has launched her own company, One2One Communication Consulting. 

Her talk, “The World Has Written Its History, Now It’s Time to Write Yours,” has encouraged many of her students and people she’s never met to be more diligent about recording their own family histories.

This process has opened up opportunities to provide multicultural communications workshops to companies in our region, she says.

Jackson encourages speakers to enjoy the process, and not get stressed or overwhelmed. She prepared by watching TED talks and using TEDx talks in her classes at YSU.

“Not only was it nerve-wracking, but it made me feel very proud; proud that I was actually there,” Jackson says. “To see that I could actually accomplish and achieve that goal of being in the Red Circle was just amazing to me. It was just a fabulous, fabulous feeling.”

For TEDxYoungstown 2019 tickets and information, visit TEDxYoungstown.com.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.