Recently we hosted a session for potential sponsors of this year’s TEDxBristol.

I gave a 5-minute talk, which I have outlined below, as to why I, my team and Burges Salmon are involved in this year’s event.

It’s a brief story about how three TED talks changed my life.

It started three years ago, when I first stumbled across the TED channel on my Apple TV. I browsed the videos available and selected one of the most watched (both then and now): Your body language may shape who you are by Amy Cuddy. It’s an amazing talk. I was immediately engrossed. As someone who has always been nervous about public speaking, it felt good to hear someone talk about how they’d overcome it. If you feel the same, you should definitely watch it. And, from around 17m30, there is this amazing, personal story of how Cuddy transforms her view of herself as Princeton student and Harvard professor. When I first saw it, something changed, I had to be involved with TED somehow.

Then, in 2015, I saw the TEDx was coming to Bristol and I thought: that's it, I have to be there. 1,800 people attended and I heard some amazing talks, including one on the ticking timebomb for the NHS that is obesity by Dawn Harper and an amazing piece on skills-based corporate responsibility by Al Crisci. They’re both great videos, but the one that changed my world was the one by David Sloly on the structure of great storytelling. As a marketer, it called to me. It struck on something that I think our industry could and should do better. I liked it so much that I can remember his stories from that speech to this day, which is kind of the point of his speech. I liked it so much, that we asked David to help us train our people on structuring stories and to help us wrote our annual review last year. He did a great job.

Onwards, then, to 2016, when I spotted the opportunity to work with Gilberto Algar-Faria on TEDxUniversityofBristol. We have a good relationship with the University and one that we were keen to strengthen: many of our lawyers study as undergraduates there. It was a great day and an amazing event to be part of. My favourite talk was  The psychology of seduction by Dr Raj Persaud. Although the TEDx licence they had allowed only 100 people to attend on the day, that video has since gone on to receive over 500,000 hits. The messages it contains work well in a business or personal setting, and he delivers it with such panache, it’s hard not to be seduced as you watch it.

If prior experience is anything to go by, I know that, along with around 3,000 other attendees at this year’s Colston Hall event on November 2nd and 3rd, I'm bound to get something inspiring out of it. Previously, I got improved public speaking confidence out of it, thanks to Amy Cuddy, my team got something (the art of storytelling) out of it thanks to David Sloly, and the firm gets something (brand recognition, kudos) out of it thanks to Dr Raj Persaud.

If you’re interested to hear more about Burges Salmon's involvement in TEDxBristol (Theme: Dare to Disrupt) then take a look here.

If you’d like to sponsor it or find out how your organisation can get involved, contact Mel Rodrigues who curates TEDxBristol, or take a look at this page.

Simon Marshall is Executive Head - Markets at independent UK law firm Burges Salmon.

Image is David Sloly at TEDxBristol 2015: Change Your Story, Change Your World.