An Ode to the Only Talk I Know How to Give

 

Today I gave my final talk of the year at RGD's DesignThinkers in Toronto. I got to speak alongside important folks like Paola Antonelli, David Carson, Steve Powers and Tobias Frere-Jones. I tried my best to not let these design figureheads intimidate me from talking about what matters to me.

I've never been the type to have strong opinions and I certainly have few opinions about design. Combine that with my distaste for telling anyone how to live their lives and you get a Meg who has no idea what to talk about when presenting in front of a thousand eyeballs.

I used to think I could never give talks. Even though I love public speaking, it's been a challenge to find a topic when so little in the design industry is at the core of my being. The universe, gratitude, authenticity, friendship, and spreading joy are far more important to me than design.

Conference organizers (and many attendees) probably expect me to talk about apps, design trends or business, but seeing as I have little to say (or care), I ignore expectations and talk about what matters to me: finding a purpose for being alive, identifying the "flaws" that make you special, and using those things to create a life and career that makes you wholeheartedly content. Sure I'm chatting about heavy topics, but approaching it in a lighthearted and fun way has always worked best for me.

This talk has led me to further figure out myself and be confident explaining, and often defending, my perspective. But, most importantly, it's made people happy. It's inspired them to look internally and change their lives for the better. It's allowed me to meet new people and share the deepest most personal things about myself with strangers. It's allowed those strangers to feel comfortable enough to share their struggles and triumphs with me as well. 

I've loved every minute of this experience. Thanks to DesignThinkers, conference organizers who allow me to not talk about design, and everyone who has seen me talk this year!

Take a look at some slides to get an idea of the things I cover. You can view the full talk in PDF form here.