BY JONATHAN ARIAS
Once the presentation was over and the audience continuously applauded, the speaker, Corey Blake, in his casual attire of a T-shirt saying “Vulnerability is Sexy,” covered with a deep red blazer, jeans, and brown dress shoes, gave a bow, set the mic on the stand and walked off the stage leaving a notepad that read a list reading from bottom to top.
The list said flirting, coffee, dinner, second date and big night and although it might have seemed like the presentation that just occurred was about courting, it was not. It was about sharing our vulnerability.
Blake, the CEO of Round Table Company, a story telling company, presented the relation between the connectivity of people with their communication of vulnerability. He said that many people tend to lead with love, projecting to people what they think others have to see to be liked, usually following the order of his list.
With a short story, a personal account and relatable examples Blake convinced and dared the audience to lead with vulnerability, that is to say something to someone else, a stranger that makes their voice shake. Blake dared everyone to start on the top of the list; start at “big night,” insisting that skipping the prior steps would not only help better connect with people, but also make you feel more positive.
The Tedx Salisbury event held on Saturday at the local Headquarters Live consisted of nine speakers that presented to only 90 audience members ideas in topics that would spark critical thoughts in individuals, the local community and even humanity as a whole. (Insert audience number)
Like Blake’s presentation, following speakers touched on topics that would benefit and enhance the people of Salisbury and the community. The event went in order from Blake’s vulnerability talk, to Mark DeLancey’s arts responsibility talk, to Grace Murdock’s focus on the need for kindness, to Martin Hutchison’s presentation about revitalizing communities with vacant lots, to Andrea Berstler’s focus on bigger being better but smaller being ideal.
They continued with Bobby Audley’s talk about what is the best on a performance scale, to Kathy Kiernan’s presentation on conversations we don’t want to have but that would have a powerful impact, to Joe Frigolette’s idea of using others’ doubts as fuel, and last but not least to Jonatan Lopez’s talk about following your dreams, with his being becoming a beat boxing celebrity.
Sitting through this series of innovative and inspiring presentations I couldn’t help to think that the longer I sat on the Headquarters bar stool jotting down the ideas that the speakers brought forth the more enlightened I was becoming. My mind felt as if it was constantly shifting gears, taking in what was being said and instantly trying to understand and store the information.
Blake’s talk made me completely reconsider what I thought about the word vulnerability. To me and most of the world the feeling of being vulnerable is that of feeling belittled and helpless. There is no way I could have ever correlated this word with any form of positivity.
Blake tested these boundaries by stating that what most people want is to be liked, which I completely attest to.
“People want to be seen to the world as those closest to you see you.” Blake said.
Now the thing about these people that are closest to you is that there is a type of deep connection between you and them and coincidentally there is knowledge of vulnerability shared as well. This shows that there is a type of correlation between relationship connectivity and vulnerability.
Blake’s talk focused on this correlation and directed its attention on the steps of building a relationship. He said that when meeting someone people share what they think the other person will like, not their true selves. Many people wait for this step.
What Blake then said was to create connectivity you must show your true selves and this is best done by sharing your vulnerability, something people usually conserve, and why not just skip the long process of steps? Blake encouraged the audience to tell a stranger your vulnerability so that you could both create a connection, they will feel comfortable to tell you their vulnerabilities, and you will feel better. It’s a win-win.
A few speakers after, Martin Huchison surprised me with a simple plan that has created a great impact in a local Camden community. Huchison started his presentation by saying that to revitalize a community you must change the composition of the communities vacant lots.
At first I had no clue what this Salisbury pastor was trying to say, then he specified with the idea that bored children create problems in communities. He went on to describe that children want to be active and that when there is nothing to do, crime, vandalism and other negative acts become an amusing passing of time.
This plus a non-maintained community with many vacant lots, showing no progress, creates an environment that could lead the community children, or in other words the community future, into the wrong paths.
Hutchison’s solution is to take these useless and unattractive lots and create a community beneficial entity out of it, such as a community garden.
Even before the garden was started the community families and children were already participating in building the garden, helping to create, fill and plant in the raised garden beds.
With this project showing immediate feedback Hutchison not only saw bored children become engaged children but he also saw the community get to know each other and mingle. He saw children being amused with the garden, enjoying maintaining it and even joyfully eating the produce received from the garden.
“If children grow carrots they will eat carrots,” Hutchison said.
In the end the result of changing one vacant lot to a community garden resulted in bored children becoming engaged, disconnected neighbors becoming connected neighbors and free veggies for the community.
With this success Hutchison is already underway with a new project in the local area.
In the end, I left the TEDx Salisbury event with a very different mindset then I had first entered Headquarters Live with and I feel as though it is safe to assume that many if not all the people that attended felt the same way.
“I heard that there was going to be a Ted talk event in Salisbury and so I just had to buy a ticket.” Said Max Stanley, Berlin resident. “I am a big fan of Ted talks and even though I originally came for the beat box presentation I was surprised at how really enjoying all the talks were, I