Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Practice speech timing with TEDTalks by length

At TED (short for technology-education-design), the talks are just 3, 6, 9, 12 or 18 minutes in length--that's it.  And while the TED.com website includes all sorts of features for these amazing speeches, from transcriptions and translations to video and subtitles, this week it added another great tool for speakers: The ability to search TED talks by their length. 

If you plan to be a frequent speaker, developing the skill of speaking within set time frames should be on your training list.  You may want to start by checking out the 3-minute speeches to see just how much can be fit into three minutes to good effect...then tackle one of your topics that way.  Move on to the 6- or 9-minute talks to see what the speakers added in those frames, then adjust your talk accordingly.  By the time you reach the 18-minute talks, I guarantee you'll find them ample.  (If only more speakers capped themselves at 18 minutes or below, the world would have more appreciative audiences.)

Don't have a topic of your own yet? Go ahead and practice with these speeches, and use them to practice pacing, cadence, tone and timing.  TED makes it easy with all its many tools, including this very welcome one.