Charlotte Blake Alston
“Ehsoti: Standing On Tradition”
TEDxWilmingtonSalon: Fireside
Thursday, December 21st, 2017
Delaware Historical Society MORE INFO

Charlotte Blake Alston for TEDxWilmingtonSalon: Fireside, TEDxWilmington, Wilmington, Delaware, TEDx

So the December 2017 TEDxWilmingtonSalon: Fireside event has come and gone. The house was packed, the room abuzz with positive energy, the attendees ebullient and receptive, the speakers, a mix of nerves and anticipation. I had spread the word via good old-fashioned – well, e-stone age – email blast to storytellers in the tri-state area, Maryland and DC and storytellers were well represented in the audience. Turns out that of the ten speakers, I was the only old fogey without a Facebook page: the early 21st century’s premier real-time communication and advertising medium.  The event would be live streamed via Facebook. The producers, MC, technical crew and other members of the TEDx Wilmington ‘Tribe’ were warm, welcoming and calming. Event organizer Ajit George brought a comforting fatherly presence, lowering speaker blood pressures and turning the volume down ever so gently on many a pounding heart as we gathered in the morning for an orientation and run-through.  Upon introduction, we each claimed our spot and shared our passions.

So now, time for reflection.  The decision to craft my first draft several months prior to the December event turned out to be the right choice for me given my fall travel and performance schedule (see my previous blog). Not all of the speakers ply their trade as professional storytellers, so the decision to partner with fellow speaker, storyteller Noa Baum also was a sound decision. Storytellers tend to craft in similar ways. Although TEDxWilmington presentations are crafted as ‘talks’ or speeches, they still need to have –from a storyteller-presenter perspective– an arc; a beginning, middle, end, a core story, message or idea around which the text is built that offers the audience a reason to lean in, a well paced build in tension and anticipation and a climactic or at least a sound and satisfying conclusion.

That important exchange led me to revisit my text and do some re-writes. The standing ovation affirmed that I had made the connection. But more than anything else, while this blog is a reflective look-back, at this stage I think it is important to say to anyone considering applying to be a TEDx speaker that I eventually came to see this opportunity as a look forward event. TED and TEDx presentations – and its speakers – are viewed, as AJit reminded us, by millions of individuals from all over the world, in countries rich and poor, populations privileged or not, educated or striving to reach their potential, to hopefuls and dreamers alike. The impact you can have as a TEDx speaker; the content of your idea worth spreading and how you present it – can have long-term, far-reaching impact. Who knows what door may open as a result of my participation? Who knows what life may be touched or changed? If you are considering, think about the potential long-term impact of your talk, respect the platform, respect the process, respect the opportunity and spread your idea as if no one else on the planet but you can!


Charlotte Blake Alston is a nationally acclaimed storyteller, narrator, instrumentalist, librettist and singer who performs in venues throughout North America and abroad. Since 1994 she has served as host of Sound All Around, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s award-winning preschool concert series and has appeared as commissioned artist, host or narrator on the orchestra’s school and family concerts since 1991. READ MORE

TEDxWilmingtonSalon: Fireside // Thursday December 21st 2017 // Delaware Historical Society