I broke (almost all) the Ted Commandments

I wasn’t going to write a post complaining about a conference, but then I clicked a link and read the post (from which I borrowed the image below) and realized it was a “sign”…I had to share my nasty experience.

On Mother’s Day, I was scheduled to present at the 29th annual conference of an American Italian association. As the process with all conferences, I submitted a proposal in late November, was notified in late January and the program was released in March. I was disappointed that I was presenting on a Sunday morning (session started at 9:30) because I realized that my tweeps on Twitter, the subject of my talk, would probably not be online on that day, at that hour. Then I realized it was not just any Sunday, but Mother’s Day, and that my parents were going to be in town visiting, so I was also annoyed. I opted, however, being the conscientious presenter that I am, to attend rather than pull a no-show.

  • Sunday morning arrives, I wish my mother a happy mother’s day and leave the house at approx 7:45.
  • I drive into the city, the traffic through the Holland Tunnel paralleling what I expected Twitter traffic to be that morning.
  • I arrive to the conference location at approx 8:15.
  • There was another presentation on Italian literature in the room in which I was to present. I waited in the corridor for that session to let out. It finally did, 15 minutes later than scheduled. So our session was late.
  • I was the 4th of 4 speakers.
  • It was a technology session.
  • None of the other speakers could figure out how to use the two trolleys of technological equipment.
  • There was no one to help out. I became the designated tech assistant.
  • At this point, we are approx 25 minutes late to start. Speaker one speaks. Nasty.
  • Speaker two presents. Interesting talk on podcasts but really nothing new.
  • Third speaker speaks…for 35 minutes!!! Chair of session does not monitor time nor stop #3.
  • Session ends at 10:45.
  • I am told to start my presentation at 10:50. Screw the PowerPoint, I don’t have time to load it up on the various trolleys. I am angry…visibly.
  • I log onto Twitter (need a hard connection, no wireless). Internet connection weak. Twitter community very quiet.
  • I tell them students enjoyed it, try to explain the benefits.
  • At 10: 55, first interruption from a speaker in the next session. Chair tells her we still have 5 minutes.
  • At 10:58, chair of next session comes in and says “we have people who need to catch flights and they want to know how much longer you will be?” Angrily, I bark, “Give me 1 and a half minutes!”
  • Check Twitter replies. Limited shoutouts.
  • I tell them if they are interested in my work to read chapter 4 of the Calico 2009 Monograph.

The end. Can you determine how many of the Ted Commandments were broken in this story? 😉


Thanks to Tim Longhurst (The TED Commandments – rules every speaker needs to know) you can see the list in an easier to read format below.

  1. 1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick
  2. Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
  3. Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
  4. Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
  5. Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy.
  6. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
  7. Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
  8. Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
  9. Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
  10. Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.

2 pensieri riguardo “I broke (almost all) the Ted Commandments

    1. Absolutely right, Seth. I didn’t break them except maybe for nos. 6 & 8! Wondering how detrimental to my “status” as an Italianist addressing these issues with the conference organizer would be? Perhaps, just boycotting them till I’m over it…I’ve been told I am very retentive so it might be a very long boycott 😉


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