Ryerson students to present ‘ideas worth spreading’ at speaker auditions

(Courtesy of TEDxRyersonU)

(Courtesy of TEDxRyersonU)

Ryerson students from all faculties will be squaring off Thursday for a chance to speak at the official TEDxRyersonU conference.

At the Student Speaker Auditions taking place in the Sears Atrium, 13 students will have three minutes or less to present their ideas to a live audience and a panel of judges that consists of members of the TEDxRyersonU team and the president of Ryerson’s Professional Communication Course Union.

To be considered for the auditions, the students filled out an application in which they outlined an idea they hope to spread, why they want to be a speaker, and what they want to get out of the experience.

Alexander Wong, the head of marketing at TEDxRyersonU, says the 13 students were selected based on the potential of their ideas to inspire people to take concrete actions.

“This year we’re looking for talks that aren’t just inspirational but also innovative,” he said. “We want our audience to not only be inspired, but we want them to act upon something. So here’s what you learned, and apply it to the world now.”

Along with being evaluated for their ideas, the students will also be assessed for their delivery.

“They’re (the judges) are looking for, obviously, a good speaker — someone who captures the attention of the audience in a way that’s creative,” Wong said. “I’m not saying creative as in bringing other things like props and stuff, but their tone and how they emphasize things, as well as interaction with the audience.”

In preparation for this year’s auditions, TEDxRyersonU enlisted the aid of a speaking coach for the first time. Before they hit the stage, the students will be given feedback on their performances and coached through means like breathing exercises.

Wong wouldn’t divulge the subject matter of the students’ presentations.

“That actually hasn’t been released yet,” he said. “It’s kind of going to be a surprise for the audience.”

Wong said the audition process gives students a wide-reaching platform on which to make themselves known, in addition to developing their communication skills.

“(The event) is going to be posted online and live streamed…(presenters) get to reach a certain audience that they may not have been able to reach before.”

Thursday’s event will be the third Student Speaker Auditions held by TEDxRyersonU since its inception in 2010, and the winner will have the opportunity to speak at TEDxRyersonU’s annual official conference in November.

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