165: Lessons Learned after hosting over 410 TEDx Talk Speakers – Featured Interview with guest expert Ajit George

TEDx Wilmington organizer and Certified Dream Builder

Ajit Mathew George talks with Bill Ringle on My Quest for the Best about his experience with running TEDx Wilmington and how the 410+ TEDx presentations have shaped and improved his life.

>>> Visit MyQuestforTheBest.com  for complete show notes and more expert advice and inspiring stories to propel your small business growth. My Quest for the Best is a top-rated small business podcast with over 300 episodes of thought-provoking and insightful interviews with today’s top thought leaders and business experts. Host Bill Ringle’s mission with this show is to provide the strategies, insights, and resources that will unlock the growth potential of your business through these powerful conversations.

Interview Insights

Key points that you’ll learn from this interview:

  • How his family of engineers and doctors served as “reverse inspiration” on his entrepreneurial career path
  • The story behind becoming the TEDx Wilmington founder in 2011, which now has showcased over 627 speakers and received over 6 million YouTube views.
  • Keys to delivering a great talk in 12-18 minutes (hint: requires 50 hours of rehearsal!)
  • Background stories on two standout TEDx presentations: Actor Yvonne Orjii on why she has decided to stay a virgin, a direct contradiction to her choice in screen roles; and Yolanda Schlabach, whose 2016 talk raised the awareness of sexual trafficking along Route 95 between Washington DC and New York to the attention of the Governor of Delaware for legislative action.
  • How Ajit’s experience as a TEDx host has made him a better listener for his life coaching clients.
  • The legacy project of creating a hydroponic garden center run by former prison inmates to provide organic produce to restaurants within 200 miles of Wilmington.

Read the Show Notes from this Episode

  • 1:51 Ajit tells about growing up in a family where all his cousins were either engineers or doctors and how it made him want to do the opposite. “I wanted to not take a safe route.”
  • 2:50 Ajit recounts the four years he spent in India as a youth working in a children’s league, and how a key leader in the league helped develop his organizational skills.
  • 4:08 “It’s ok to fail…and recovering from failure is almost as important as failing.”
  • 5:33 How Ajit became involved with TED and TEDx
  • 7:00 Ajit gives tips on how to put together a TEDx talk.
  • 7:07 “People feel the need to put everything they know into a talk, which is a huge mistake.”
  • 7:31 “What is that one idea worth spreading?”
  • 9:15 [How to resist the urge to condense multiple ideas] – “Write down every idea [you] want to share in a TEDx talk, it doesn’t matter whether it’s one talk or multiple talks. Once [you] write it down on a sheet of paper, I then say, ‘What is the one idea of all those ideas on the sheet of paper you want to share with the world if you never got an opportunity to do a second TEDx talk?’”
  • 10:09 “[TEDx Wilmington] no longer let anyone come without a lot of rehearsal…It’s a very conscious, determined process that we have.”
  • 11:14 [Ajit explains why TEDx talks don’t allow notes] – “A good TEDx talk takes at least 50 hours of rehearsal.”
  • 13:26 Ajit describes the organizational challenges of running TEDx.
  • 15:02 What makes a fascinating TED talk.
  • 17:12 “Often what we try to do is give a global platform to people who have great messages, but who are not getting them across.”
  • 19:05 What it means to be a good life coach.
  • 19:15 “You can only show them how to walk and give them the directions.”
  • 20:33 “It’s much harder to get people to gracefully surrender something that they passionately believe in.” 
  • 21:00 Ajit tells about his upcoming project Second Chances Farm, an organic farm where individuals recently released from prison will have a place to get back on their feet, and the goals he has for its development.
  • 24:43 How Ajit became involved with doing work with Wilmington prisons through the organization Breaking Bread Behind Bars.
  • 25:52 [On hiring individuals recently released from prison] – “There’s a huge shortage of labor force in the United States right now.”
  • 27:50 [The importance of prioritization] – “The key is remembering that there’s no such thing as multi-tasking…so at the end of the day you have to decide if you make a list of 25 things, what’s the one thing that you must do today?”

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Expert Bio

Ajit Mathew George is a TEDx organizer, certified Dream Builder™ Life Coach, creative marketer, serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, gastronaut, wine aficionado, and dream catcher who divides his time between Wilmington, Delaware and Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. He has over 40 years of experience in creative marketing, strategic planning, and business development in many different areas ranging from broadcasting, non-profits, resorts, and real estate development.

Through Magic Dust, LLC, he helps organizations and individuals build their dreams, accelerate their results, and create richer, more fulfilling lives through Life Coaching, strategic marketing, and event planning. Over the years, Ajit has sprinkled his “magic dust” to create some magical events such as First Night Wilmington, Meals From the Master’s Celebrity Chef’s Brunch, Evening With The Masters, Cellar Masters Wine Auction, Evening of Style, Black Tie Monopoly Tournament, Virgin Islands Winemakers Dinners, MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival and TEDxWilmington.

As the organizer and executive producer of TEDxWilmington (www.tedxwilmington.com) Ajit organized six annual TEDxWilmington Conferences, the 2018 TEDxWilmingtonED Conference, the 2016 and 2017 TEDxWilmingtonWomen Conference, 2017 TEDxYouth@Wilmington, and 18 TEDxWilmingtonSalons between 2014 and 2017 including a very special TEDx Salon inside a prison in July 2015. These 29 different TEDx events featuring 397 speakers from around the world who gave 375 TEDx talks. As of March 5, 2018, the TEDx talks given at TEDxWilmington had over 6.351.709 views on YouTube.

Ajit is the Chairman of the American Wine Society’s First State Wine Guild. He was also the founder of the MidAtlantic Wine+ Food Festival that in 2015 consisted of a series of 33 acclaimed food and wine events in 4 states over 4 days featuring 60 chefs + 23 winemakers from 6 continents. He organized this annual Wine + Food Festival for 4 years.

Ajit is the founder of Second Chances Farm LLC, which is creating an organic vertical farm in Wilmington, Delaware that will exclusively hire people re-entering society after completing their prison sentence.

Contact Info and Social Media for Ajit Mathew George

Resources Mentioned by Ajit Mathew George:

Below are key people, places, books, quotes, websites, and other resources that we discussed so you can explore further.

TEDx Videos Mentioned
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