Top 10 TED Talk Tips

Sue Bradbury joined the TEDxTruro team last year to work with our group of speakers.

Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to help out with the first ever TEDxTruro event. Having taught public speaking for years, the prospect of working with those chosen to share their ideas was exciting. The reality, though, far surpassed my expectations.

TED talks take the art of engaging an audience to a whole new dimension – igniting inspiration, electrifying emotions and transforming opinion. Little wonder they’re a global sensation.

Here’s what I learnt from the coaching process:

1. Preparation is key.

Most of us have stood up in front of a group of people and given a speech or a presentation. Many of us will, from time to time, have winged it. TED talks are different. To be as powerful as they can be, improvisation isn’t an option.

2. Be human.

We all love a story. So tell us yours. Put us in your shoes, make us see what you see, help us feel what you feel. Give us real examples.

3. Keep it simple.

There’s nothing more guaranteed to lose attention than lack of understanding. You may know your subject inside out but those you are talking to don’t. Is the language you are using suitable for twelve-year-olds? Forget long words and sentences, be succinct and clear.

4. Grab our attention.

What’s the headline for your talk? What makes it stand out, fires our curiosity and stops us in our tracks? We’re not interested in the ordinary. Wow us.

5. Have a route map.

Like any journey, think about how you are going to get to where you want to be – without taking unplanned detours. Make the path too rambling and boredom could set in. Create a trip to impress.

6. Look at us!

We want to believe you’re talking to each one of us so make eye contact, smile, laugh when appropriate. Be yourself!

7. Inject a little drama.

We all love surprises, so give us some. Jolt us with a different way of looking at something, a compelling image or a shocking statistic.

8. Open and close with pzazz.

Think of your talk as a page-turner. Hook us from the start, keep the narrative flowing and aim for a memorable finish.

9. There’s nothing wrong with being scared.

Fear keeps you focused and, if you make a mistake, don’t panic. We’re human too and want you to succeed.

10. Be passionate.

You’ve been invited to talk, so seize the opportunity. Make the most of the experience by preparing, rehearsing and listening to constructive advice. Give it your all, set out to reveal, entertain and persuade. The rewards are well worth reaping.

Don’t miss out. Buy your tickets to this year’s event.