Thursday, March 9, 2017

Be the only presenter who stands out with a truly TED-quality talk

In the past few years, 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.

Some speakers get out from behind the lectern, but give their regular talk, loaded with slides and no storytelling. Some think they must tell a personal story, or only a personal story. I've even heard about corporations that handed out a template for a TED-style presentation, even though actual TED talks don't follow a template. 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. Why mimic TED style when you can craft a compelling talk that meets TED quality?

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.
If you want to learn the more effective way to speak in this style, I've got a workshop coming up in London on April 3.  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 a talk or presentation that really meets the level of TED quality. This workshop is suitable for both speechwriters and speakers, and you don't need to have a talk prepared for the workshop--instead, you'll learn what you need to do to prepare it effectively.

Instead of cheating on the parameters of TED-style talks, why not borrow the sentiment of a previous attendee, whose goal was 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 April in London. Seats are filling, so register soon!

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Lawrence Wang)

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