Since I gave my TEDx talk, many people have asked be various questions about it such as:
- How does one prepare to speak at a TEDx?
- What is the process for being chosen as a TEDx speaker?
- What was it like?
- Are there any guidelines and rules given for a TEDx talk?
Rather than answering all of these on a one to one basis, I thought I would put together an outline for anyone considering becoming a TEDx speaker. I have also covered things that I learned in the process and therefore would do differently the next time.
Firstly, before the event I don’t think I fully appreciated how big being a TEDx speaker really is. Since I gave my talk, I have had a number of opportunities come my way nationally and internationally to speak at various events.
So lets go for it.
- How does one prepare to speak at a TEDx event?
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Then practice, practice, practice. For an event like TEDx, you cannot over-practice and over-prepare too much. Remember, this should be the talk of your life in under 18 minutes. It should be non-religious, non-political and no selling or pitching from the stage.
TEDx is, and rightly so, very strict about this. At a TEDx event such as the one at which I spoke, you are given a theme on which to base your presentation. The theme on my day was transformation. Therefore, ensure that your talk is in line with what you have been given, then prepare your material and prepare it well.
Remember, you should not have any props or notes. It should flow out of you in a clear and concise manner. Once you have your material together, practice delivering it, practice many times. Video yourself delivering your talk, then review it.
Be critical to ensure your delivery is good. Get others to critique it for you as well. Ensure you spend plenty of time crafting your talk, don’t rush to put something together. Make it your masterpiece.
Public speaking is an art. It is a learnable skill that takes time and practice. We all start at the same place – the starting line. Those who have gone on to become well known public speakers have simply practiced a process that, as a speaker, one must learn.
- How was I chosen?
Many people want to know how is one chosen to speak at such an event. Many people would like to be chosen, but the reality is, not everyone will be given the opportunity. How does one put your best foot forward in the selection process?
First, become a regular speaker and ensure some of your events are videoed. For me, the organiser (I was not aware of this at the time) had watched a couple of my videos on my website at www.keepthinkingbig.com
One of them was at an event in Orlando, Florida given to 750 trainers, coaches and speakers at a John Maxwell Team training event. This proves the point you never know who is looking at your website! To watch that talk I gave click HERE
The organiser then met with me and asked me a number of questions and gave me enough information to ensure that their due diligence was carried out. I was then formally invited to become TEDx speaker at a particular event. I happily agreed!
Shortly after that, a contract outlining the terms that each of the speakers must comply with was sent to me for my signature, When returning the contract I was also asked to include a bio and include a photograph as well as the title of my talk.
- As The Big Day Approaches
Go to all rehearsals for the event. Familiarize yourself with the surroundings. Ask questions, don’t be uninformed. With all the preparation and practice, remember this: Enjoy the event, have fun, don’t take yourself too seriously. Deliver well with depth, have a good structure to your talk.
My talk was in three sections. A listener would see a very easy flow from one point to the next. For how my mind works, I focused on each section rather than the whole talk from beginning to end. Therefore, I had to present and recall three six-minute sections.
Make sure that each of your points have a story and each story has a point. People love to hear stories that will help them connect with you, to concentrate on and understand each point you are making. Watch as many TEDx talks as you can. Learn from them. Don’t be intimidated by them; rather be inspired by them.
4. What would I do differently next time?
- I would have chosen the title of my talk differently. Titles of talks (and books) are key. Remember, the audience will not be just those in the room, but will also be those watching it afterwards. Therefore, to deliver value, make sure that your title is very relevant.
- I would not have walked around the stage as much as I did. Keep in the red circle as much as you can, if not all the time.
To watch my TEDx talk, click HERE
I hope you have found this of value to you. If you know others who would one day like to be given the chance to become a TEDx speaker, please do share this with them.
As a public and professional speaker, you are always growing, learning, adapting and maturing. Even if you are never given the opportunity to speak at a TEDx event, it is always worth honing that skill of public speaking. You never know when you may be called upon to speak!
Tony Lynch is a Business Development Trainer & Coach. He works with business leaders to enhance their team engagement, performance, productivity and profitability. Tony has also been featured in INC for ‘100 Great Leadership Speakers For You Next Conference’.