TEDxBroadway: Are You Ready for Your Talk?

Each year, I have the great pleasure of working with all the TEDxBroadway speakers on their talks. It’s really incredible to think about what the kernel of an idea was when we started and what it becomes when it’s revealed on stage. I’m not taking the credit, mind you, the talk is all the speaker. But, sometime in our conversations they say something as an aside and, turns out, it really is the core of the talk. It’s usually an “Eureka!” moment for both of us.

To help speakers prepare their approach, we recommend they read, “The TED Commandments.” There are some real gems in this list. Not just for a talk of this kind but, really, for any sort of speaking engagement. We’ve all been to conferences where we wish we could remind someone of No. 7, right?

  1. 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.

There’s a reason that being sold to feels icky — it’s the desperation of someone trying to capture your wallet, rather than your interest, that seriously puts people off. Put away the rolling suitcase and forget the sales speak — if you concentrate on what someone might feel if they didn’t buy into your idea as opposed to why they should buy in, you’ll be much more successful.

And, then there are Nos. 2 and 3. These two commandments applied to a talk can make a presentation feel like a religious experience.

  1. Thou shalt dream a great dream, or show forth a wondrous new thing, or share something thou hast never shared before.

Originality captures the imagination and leads to legions of inspired followers. As per the first commandment, who wants to hear what they’ve heard before?

  1. Thou shalt reveal thy curiosity and thy passion.

The best talks tap into the true enthusiasm and energy the speaker has for the chosen subject. If someone is talking to you about a subject it’s obvious they couldn’t care less about, you could barely care less either. Keep that in mind.

After you’ve read the full list, think about what YOUR talk would be for TEDxBroadway 2018 (Tuesday, February 27 in NYC) and send us your online submission here: www.tedxbroadway.com/applications.

And, maybe we’ll get to have that “Eureka!” moment. Or if you still aren’t up for giving a talk at the event, I hope you’ll be in the audience (get your tickets here).

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