TEDxYouth Monaco: ‘It’s a relief to speak and to know that everyone is listening’

Alicia Sedgwick, author of Communicating Through Change: Lessons Learned From Real Life, teaches Public Speaking, Presentation and Communication Skills at the International University of Monaco. She also works with all backgrounds and all ages, from corporations to private clients and students at the International School of Monaco (ISM). “It is so interesting that small children in their early years can talk freely and chatter without filter but then when they get to primary school age, all that lack of inhibition becomes clouded and they close up.”

Alicia says her training helps students “to open up again, to be free of worries, cares and anxieties when they communicate so they can move through their teens and into adulthood with their self-esteem raised, and the ability to communicate effectively.” And confidence in communicating is essential whether it be through digital communication (online, social media, Zoom), for school or university presentations, or for personal and professional relationships.

Which is why the TEDxYouth event this Saturday, October 15, from 2-4 pm, at ISM is such a huge deal. Its speakers are all ISM students ages 10 to 17. “The aim is not only to raise the profile of TEDxYouth, but to promote its significance as the only TEDxYouth event in the Principality,” says Alicia. This event is open to the public and you can register and sign up for a ticket ( €10) directly from the International School of Monaco website.

“So many of the children who do put themselves forward for the TEDxYouth auditions are way out of their comfort zone. I have had students who speak so quietly, or shift about when they talk, and do not engage, then perform at TEDxYouth with such power and control that I am so impressed and proud.”

The international platform of students presenting include Amael Anwar (Switzerland), Olivia Chisholm (UK and South Africa), Solomon Passegger (Austria), Sophia Zweegers (Morocco and the Netherlands), Margherita Sparaco (Italy), Amelia Banks Clark (UK) and well as Celeste Maximiana Schofield.

Speaker Amali Benner shares, “A lot of my friends call me a chatterbox because I talk so much. But I recently learned that talking just for the sake of talking is rambling and purely a waste of words. I joined TEDxYouth to, like most people, improve my speaking skills.”

For 10-year-old Alexandra Vlad (France and Romania), “I joined TEDx to improve my confidence on stage and possibly to help defeat my slight stage fright. Also, I want to improve my ability to really express myself. In the past I have sometimes been afraid to express myself because I thought that nobody would really listen to me, but it’s such a relief to speak and to know that everyone is listening to me.”

ISM recently held a successful Quiz Night to raise awareness for this second edition of TEDxYouth. “Shasta Almi, the school’s Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator, and Director of Studies Hannah Gettel, who serves on the organising committee, are incredible women and have been amazingly dedicated to the TEDxYouth event.”

2021 TEDxYouth @ISMonaco

Alicia Sedgwick

Communications Coach Alicia Sedgwick. Photos: Nancy Heslin

You may know her as a host of TEDxMonteCarlo, a third of the Lib Day Darlings, a Public Speaking teacher at the International University of Monaco or even Alicia Sedgwick Communications Coach. 

Now Alicia can add published author to her list of achievements, as her book Communicating Through Change is due to be released on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format on January 19, the same day as she is throwing a Covid-safe ZOOM launch party.

“My book provides an insight into my life, and shares with the reader what I have learned through the experiences of change. I write in a way that whoever reads the book can deal with their experiences and come through them with strength and courage,” Alicia explains.

Having had a sneak peek of a few chapters in Communicating Through Change, Alicia powerfully puts herself out there without playing the victim or preacher. From trying to maintain a heterosexual lifestyle to coping with health uncertainties, she writes in a concise and effectively formatted style, written for real people who want to make real changes.

“We all go through change in our life and anyone at any age can relate to the experiences I write about in this book. Also, the practical guidance and applicable exercises enable the reader to communicate their way through the variety of different changes,” Alicia emphasises.

It is hard to imagine Alicia in her former life. Originally from Leigh on Sea in Essex – “I was actually born in the room in my mum and dad’s house, that was my bedroom!” – the professional blues singer and stage performer originally studied Law and Sociology at Warwick University “because I had more chance of getting a job at the end of my degree.” 

She became a solicitor, eventually specialising in Family Law, and having her own practice. “I loved being able to help people through very difficult times for them but I hated injustice. And I did not like being undermined by my male Partners!”

She adds, “When I came to the South of France, I knew I wanted to be totally true to myself, and that meant not being a lawyer and having to tolerate all the restrictions and regulations imposed that inhibited one’s ability to serve my clients.”

In the process of a major life transition Alicia “took strength and comfort in the good that I had in my life, as I always do. Making the most of life.”

Through two South African ladies living here, Alicia was introduced “to my beloved” Annette Anderson. She travelled back and forth from the UK to see her, until she finally moved here full-time and began living a more authentic life. “Having the incredible love and support of Annette helps me beyond words to believe in myself. Finding a love that is completely balanced, equal, and where each person can be themselves and independent gives tremendous strength and peace.”

Alicia, who is a Communications Expert for the Vitruvius Partners Group, continues to meet change head on. “I learned during the health pandemic that as long as we can stay well, and are able to work, I can be very much in the present, and see this change as an opportunity.” And, more than ever, people are needing her services to help them communicate effectively, and with impact, on camera and online.

Hard to imagine but she admits, “I have been without confidence for a lot of my life, especially as a lawyer. Only in recent years have I felt fulfilled – through teaching, training and coaching in public speaking, presentation and communication skills, all of which help people, give them confidence, empower, motivate and inspire – and come into my own.”

Communicating Through Change by Alicia Sedgwick is available in paperback and for kindle on Amazon from January 19. There are only a few more spots open for her release party here – sign up here.