Throughout his life, Gary Smith has faced unique medical obstacles and challenges which he overcame, and shared with the world in his talk ‘Barrier or Hurdle’ at TEDxYouthCroydon. He demonstrated how he used one of his obstacles (dyslexia), to create Brainbook Ltd, the company behind mobile application ‘Dyslexia Toolbox,’ which helps dyslexics in their day to day life.

Gary attributes his good preparation for his talk by taking advice from his speech mentor; he recorded himself, listened to the recording and recited it. However, Gary struggles to remember speeches without any ‘references’ or cue cards. For TEDxYouthCroydon, he did manage to somewhat overcome this and had his cue cards handy in his pocket. He remains optimistic that with more time and practice, he can completely overcome this barrier.

What has Gary been up to since TEDxYouthCroydon in November 2013?

Since his talk last year, Gary has been busy building his Dyslexia software which already has over 7000 subscribers. He has also built two business partnerships. The first one is a social network based on ‘spectrum conditions’ (such as autism) which supports people via fun media, specialist and peer to peer with www.socialice.net. The second partnership is building a software for the care industry with a company called ‘NewKey Support’.

Gary also did a talk at another TEDx event at the University of Strathclyde, acted as a panelist at Dyslexia events and became an Ambassador for Mployme.

How has speaking at TEDxYouthCroydon benefited Gary’s life?

Overall, his participation in TEDxYouthCroydon has been advantageous for his career because it served as a good profile builder. Gary shares that, people always will say “wow you did a TEDx talk” and “immediately will want to work with me.”

The talks also changed Gary’s public image – his social media has become more professional and he’s said that, “people take me even more serious.” He’s now also receiving a lot of requests for advice. At least twelve people have told him that he’s ‘inspirational’ and his response has always remained the same, “I’m only inspirational because I’m different and controversial.”

How did he prepare for his talk?

His family, who helped him prepare for his talks, expressed to Gary how emotive they felt during his talk delivery. The talks helped improve his relationship with his family; his family believes in Gary much more now.

Gary’s friends were ‘shocked’ by the content of ‘Barrier or Hurdle’ and felt it was so powerful, each time he’s feeling down, they recite some of the talk to him. Attendees of the first ever TEDxYouthCroydon event, also offered Gary positive feedback, saying that they felt like they have known Gary for some time and were given an insight into his life and way of thinking.

Although previous talks can act as a form of guidance, Gary shared that in reality that it is difficult to deliver a TEDx worthy talk. He found that to do a talk, encouragement is important, but also that it is “imperative to get out your comfort zone,” when speaking publicly.

What advice would Gary give to anyone who has to deliver a speech?

He advices anyone wanting to take part in a TEDxYouth event to “be yourself and nothing else.” People respect honesty, openness and humour. Combine those three elements with an awesome delivery and you will be the quality TEDx requires.”

What did Gary enjoy the most about participating in TEDxYouthCroydon?

“It was exhilarating to share a message with an engaging crowd and seeing the reactions that I really hope has made a difference to their life. There is nothing quite like sharing a story to people that are keen to know more!”

To see Gary Smith’s ‘Barrier or Hurdle’ visit this link

Check out Brainbook website here

Good luck Gary.  Great things happen to great people.  We wish you all the best.