Thursday, December 3, 2015

"I was the only one who really followed the TED-talk approach"

In the past year, I've coached scores of speakers who want to make a big change in their public speaking and presenting style by giving talks in the style of TED. As they march out with their new skills, many of these executives--from Fortune 100 companies, private philanthropies, major nonprofits, health systems, and more--are finding out firsthand that there are lots of misunderstandings and misinterpretations of this popular public-speaking style.

Here's one example from a recent trainee who has given his new talk in front of audiences numbering in the hundreds:
I followed your guidance and got great feedback.  Though the session was billed as “TED talks” I was the only one who really followed the TED-talk approach and I think it made a big difference. The coaching was very helpful for that.
Another trainee in this style said:
Of the four keynote speakers, I was the only one who kept my talk under 20 minutes, and clearly the only one who understood what does and doesn't mean 'TED-style.' As a result, I had time left for questions--something none of the other keynotes had--and the audience loved it.
Some speakers or conference organizers think that a "TED-style" talk means taking the same old talk and delivering it without notes or a lectern, but there's much more to it than that. Others think all "TED-style" talks are 18 minutes....or just blow through the time limits. But once you start whittling away at the standard, it's easy to wind up with just another same-old, same-old talk. The TEDx and TEDMED speakers I coach every year can tell you: These talks aren't business-presentations-as-usual, and they take work to pull off successfully.

If you want to learn the more effective way to speak in this style, I've got two small-group workshops coming up on Creating a TED-quality talk in Washington, DC, in January. Choose the January 14 workshop or the January 28 workshop. All you need to do is bring your one big idea for a talk in the style of TED. You'll learn how to plan, write, time, practice, and deliver it in a group limited to 5 people per workshop.

Instead of cheating on the parameters of TED-style talks, why not borrow the sentiment of someone already registered, who wants to "Rock it TED-style when co-presenting with read-off-the-slide PowerPoint users." Now that's a public speaking goal! Join us in January...

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Lawrence Wang)