What Public Speakers Can Learn From TED Talks

by drjim on July 16, 2013

TED is all about ideas and watching people give speeches

TED is all about ideas and watching people give speeches
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Talk about great speeches! I’m going to assume that you already know about the world famous TED talks: it’s where people are invited to come and give an 18 minute speech about something that has to do with Technology, Entertainment, or Design (i.e. TED). TED conferences remind us about the importance of public speaking. The audience is made up of very successful and powerful people and the right speech, delivered the right way, could just very possibly end up changing the world.

How To Make Your Next Speech “TED Worthy”

Getting invited to make a presentation at a TED conference is a big deal. Famous people will be in the audience, you’ll be videotaped, your speech will live forever and will be viewed by, possibly, millions of people worldwide. Talk about pressure!

How do you start to get ready for something like that? The first step is to make sure that you have something interesting to talk about. Do not be boring! Instead, take the time to pick a topic that is thought-provoking. You want to be able to capture your audience’s attention from the start.

Next, you are going to want to load your short speech with stories. I’m not talking about general stories here, but rather personal stories that will allow you to show your audience why what you are talking about means so much to you. Keep in mind that a TED talk is not like a classroom – you are not there to lecture your audience, but rather to share with them.

A TED talk is a place for you to take risks. Let’s be honest about this. In this life, you’ll probably only get one shot at a presentation like this. Step out on that limb and do something different. Make sure that your presentation is going to be memorable.

If ever there was a speech that needed to be practiced, then your TED speech is it. Don’t you dare just run through it a few times in front of the bathroom mirror. Instead, pull together some of your friends who won’t be afraid to give you honest feedback and deliver the speech to them. You can’t do this just once. Do it at least a couple of times – the more the better.

Finally, there had better be a reason why you are giving the speech. What this means is that you are going to have to wrap your speech up with a takeaway for your audience. How do you want to feel when your speech is done? What action do you want them to take because they heard your speech? Be very, very clear about this and wrap-up your speech so that it will happen.

What All Of This Means For You

TED is a fantastic conference and some incredible speeches are given there. TED talks remind us that one of the benefits of public speaking is that our speeches really can make a difference. You and I may never be invited, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from all of the speakers who have been invited.

When we are preparing our next speech, we need to pretend like we’re getting ready to give a TED talk. Make sure that your speech starts with a though provoking idea. Share stories with your audience so that they get to know the real you. Make sure that you end with a takeaway – what do you want your audience to do?

The better our speeches get and the more of an impact that we start to have on our audiences, the better our chances of being asked to present at a TED conference become. Yeah, yeah – it might still be a longshot, but if you are ready then when the call comes you’ll know what to do!

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If you only have 18 minutes for your speech, how many slides should you use?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In order to become a better public speaker than you are right now, just exactly what do you have to do? If you are like most of us, you probably said “become more like…” and named a famous public speaker that you admire. Well guess what, that person is going to help you to reach the next level in your public speaking ability…

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