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Jun 10, 2017
7 Simple Steps to a Successful TED Talk
Considering what a successful TED Talk can mean for your career, the process of preparing for one can be extremely nerve-wracking.
But with the right plan and focus, TED Talks don’t have to be scary. In fact, they present an utterly unique opportunity to connect with an audience over subject matter specific to your expertise.
Below are a few tips from own experience preparing for my first TED Talk. Hope you find them helpful!
1. Harness the power of anecdotes
Telling stories is a powerful way to connect with others. In my talk, I used an impactful experience on a bumpy flight as an introductory metaphor that teed up my thesis.
But remember: vivid specificity is more important than choosing a story that everyone will relate to.
Not only do real-life stories help your audience get to know you beyond your bio on the program, they’ll also help you feel more comfortable onstage as you recount something you actually experienced.
And while not everyone in the audience will have had a similar experience to the one you choose to share, a detailed and engaging story can pull in even the most unlikely listener.
Avoid generic anecdotes in lieu of authentic experiences–your audience will be able to spot the difference.
2. Employ creative memorization techniques
Perhaps the most daunting part of delivering a TED Talk is the lack of a podium — meaning no notes, no index cards, and definitely no teleprompter.
I hired a corporate hypnosis expert (Lilly Tam), she had me write my script in longhand (cursive) numerous times, then she used hypnosis techniques to help me reduce anxiety, boost confident and improve recall.
Every speaker is different, but most of us will succumb to nerves without a clear onstage road map. Do yourself a favor and commit your entire speech to memory.
3. Rehearsal isn’t just for remembering your lines
It’s obviously important to know exactly what you’re going to say once you step onto that stage, but arguably more important is how you plan to say it.
Don’t be overly enthusiastic to the point of being cheesy, but work to deliver your speech with tangible passion about your subject matter.
If your audience isn’t convinced that you believe in what you’re saying, they’ll tune out immediately.
Rehearsing a talk alone is immensely different than delivering it to a full room of strangers.
You might feel totally calm about it in the privacy of your own home or office, only to start (literally) sweating or forget your lines onstage.
Prepare for this by giving your talk to a small group of friends or family beforehand.
Ken Sterling is the Chief Marketing Officer at BigSpeak Speakers’ bureau – the leading keynote and business speakers bureau in the world. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California and an MBA from Babson College. Ken teaches Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Strategy at UC Santa Barbara. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, business consultant and sales & marketing expert. For press interviews, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.