Tips for Preparing a Ted Talk

imagesI’m pleased to announce that I will be coaching the speakers at TedXNavesink again this year!  I’m thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event.

A good Ted Talk has many components to it.  How you prepare will certainly influence your talk.  Here are a few tips:

1) Start Preparing Early – A Ted talk is a high-pressure event.  There are large audiences to contend with, and video cameras as well.  It’s imperative that you know your material inside and out.  Start gathering all the information you need for your topic as soon as you can.

2)  Have a Plan for Your Anxiety – Expect your heart to race and don’t push away the fear.  Try to accept your anxiety; it’s a natural part of public speaking.  Don’t, however, follow the mistaken advice to “use” your anxiety.  Bad idea.  You’ll just end up sounding like Howard Dean circa 2006.  Pause if you’re tense.  Take a sip of water and let there be silence.  Gently tell yourself “it’s natural”, and let the moment pass.  Resume speaking.

3) Have A Structure – A good speech is generally composed of three parts: an introduction, a discussion section and a closing section.  The intro tells the audience what the speech is about in a sentence or two, the discussion section is your main points arraigned logically (the discussion section is 75% of your speech), and your closing section is where you review your main points, or call the audience to action.

4) Video Record Yourself – If you record yourself, you can check your non-verbal communication.  Eighty percent of the audience’s impression of a speaker is non-verbal. See if you are moving in a way that is organic to you.  Try to reduce fidgeting.  Notice your articulation.  Use open gestures.  The more effective your non-verbal communication, the more impactful your speech will be.

5) Work with a Speech CoachGetting feedback on your speech is essential.  A good coach can help you craft your material, offer tips to handle your anxiety, and help you convey confident non-verbal communication.  Be sure that you bring your full speech or at least an outline to your coaching session.

6) Read “Presentation Zen” – Simply put, this is the best book on the market regarding presenting and Power Point design.  Give it a read.


2 thoughts on “Tips for Preparing a Ted Talk

  1. Mr. Davies, I am looking forward to working with you to help me give the best TEDxTalk I can give. Your tips are clear and to the point. As I go over my speech I will make sure I have a beginning, middle and end. I will also get the book you recommend asap. Let me get cracking! I hope you have a playful day. The Play Lady, Pat Rumbaugh

  2. Thanks for the note Pat! I’m looking forward to hearing your speech at TedX this year. Jeff

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