We start our interview series with Alexandra Smith, model, actrice, coach, ZZP ambassador and overall super-woman. Her book, 100 dagen dankbaarheid (which I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend to everyone who needs a motivational boost), is an anthem to perseverance, self-value and discipline, spiced up by humor and personal insight. What is Alexandra up to these days and how did her TEDxBreda talk influence her views and career?
Thank you for answering our call. People want to know how your life was influenced after you went off the TEDx stage.
After my TEDx-talk I got e-mails from strangers who were inspired by my story. It really strengthens my belief that telling stories is the ultimate way to connect with people. A story is never a story about you alone.
Apart from that it helped me in my goal to become a professional public speaker. Every month now I have a public speaking event and I really enjoy it!
When did you first heard of TED talks? Do you have a favorite?
I have been a great fan of the TED talks for many years now. Among my favorites are the power of vulnerability of Brene Brown and Stroke of Insight of Jill Bolte Taylor.
How do you see the relationship between TEDx and the city of Breda?
Truth be told, I don’t live in Breda, but I experienced TEDxBreda twice. Once as a member of the audience and once I was on stage myself. Based on those experiences it is heart-warming to see how local entrepreneurs are really involved with the organisation of the event, which makes the event a real Breda-version of TEDx.
How and why did you attend TedxBreda?
As someone who trains TEDx-speakers and entrepreneurs I was discovered by Saskia Mulder who found out that I had an interesting personal story to tell myself. It also helped that I wrote a book that got a lot of media attention (100 dagen dankbaarheid).
What can you tell us about preparing for the talk?
I have rewritten my speech at least four times and rehearsed it about 5 times and learned it by heart. And I had an extra excuse to go shopping ? You want to be as comfortable as possible on stage. That includes being comfortable about your appearance as well.
How did it feel standing on the TEDx stage?
Excited. It is okay to be tensed, it makes you extra alert. And giving a TEDx-talk is a dream come true. So excited you will be.
Atmosphere wise, how would you describe the vibe in the room?
Great audience. People who come, really want to listen to you.
What was the first thought you had after going off that stage?
I did it!!!!!! I nailed it!!! Now let’s go and have a drink.
How did your presence at the event influence your cause?
I gained more credibility as a trainer storytelling and entrepreneur coach.
Locally and internationally – how do you think your talk inspired people?
It inspired them to share stories, and they start sharing them with me.
Would you do it again? What would you change?
Oh yes. I wouldn’t change the process of it, but probably talk about a different subject. People change over the years and so do your focus points.
What’s next for you, what are your current and future ambitions?
Currently writing my third book about happy entrepreneurship. My future ambition is to double the amount of public speaking gigs and to keep on writing books with a soul. Apart from that I want to continue helping entrepreneurs finding their story and flourish with their business.
Do you have any suggestions regarding our future speakers?
Do everything within your power to be as confident as possible on stage and take it seriously.
How can we improve TEDxBreda?
I already answered this question to Saskia Mulder right after the talk and can’t remember what I said ?
What do you think of this year’s theme – Gamification a.k.a. ‘Pause. Reload. Game on’?
Interesting theme that brings you different opportunities.
What is your view on play as part of life?
That it is very important to be playful in everything you do. No one wants to be a boring serious adult. Not ever. The way to avoid becoming one is to keep on playing until your last day on this playful planet. Playing is a way to release stress, to get new ideas, learn things and experiment with things.
Interested in contacting Alexandra for future projects?