3 Tips for Giving a “TED-like” Presentation

March 21, 2012

TED does a stellar job with managing its global network, assets, and events.

And everyone wants in.

I haven’t met a single person familiar with TED who doesn’t wish they could be up there on the podium, presenting worthy material in a concise format, landing on revelatory insights to share with a broad audience (made only broader by the viral pass-along for which TED videos are so renowned).

Wouldn’t it be fantastic for TED to offer – at its conference or as an addendum to the conference – a way for attendees, admirers, and other interested parties to learn how to make their talk like a TED talk?

Everyone has a topic that ignites their passion points, which they’d love to spread like wildfire. The question is, how do you present your information in the most “TED-like” way possible? And how do you ID your “TED-worthy” topic?

Three Tips for Giving a “TED-like” Presentation

1. Keep it short. TEDTalks are 18 minutes for a reason. If it can’t be conveyed in this amount of time, you have too much material for a single presentation. The time limit will impose filters that accelerate the culling of information from top lined to subsidiary for your audience.

2. It’s the WHY. TED conveys ideas that spread because it dares to ask “why” – a much harder, more insightful question to answer than “how” (the question we most often answer).

3. Avoid jargon. TEDTalks have such viral appear because no matter what your background knowledge of the topic (however esoteric), within 18 minutes – the viewer is on board with the matter discussed. Use language as an inclusive, rather than exclusive tool. Speaking in terms anyone can understand allows everyone that magical ability to “get it.”

The 10 TED Commandments

Below is a typed up version of the (actual) stone tablet TED speakers receive, pre-talk (taken from Australian futurist Tim Longhurst’s blog)

  1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick.
  2. Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
  3. Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
  4. Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
  5. Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy.
  6. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
  7. Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
  8. Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
  9. Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
  10. Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.

Now that you know the tips for giving a “TED-like” presentation as well as the 10 TED Commandments, the question is, what can you achieve in 18 minutes?

Photo courtesy of Ted.

Sarah is a VP of Insights & Strategic Planning, working closely with team leaders to catalyze the planning/creative process and develop key research-based and target-relevant insights that help lead to clear strategic vision. In essence, people fascinate her and she figures out what makes them tick so brands can intersect with consumers in a meaningful, mutually profitable way. Recently named to the 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 List in Marketing & Advertising, her focus on millennials has become a core area of Ketchum expertise. A committed cultural enthusiast, it’s hard to find something that doesn’t interest her. You can follow Sarah’s random musings on Twitter @sarahjane047, PSFK, and her blog, So Five Minutes Ago.