Is a TEDx Talk In Your Future? Ask a TEDx Coach — Me!

Helen MosesHelen Moses BlogLeave a Comment

I’ve been the speaker coach for TEDx Raleigh since 2017. That means I help the speakers make sure they are adhering to TED guidelines and that all of the points they make support their unique “idea worth sharing.” I give them feedback on the overall flow of their talk and how they deliver it.

When people find out that I have this connection, many of them tell me they have always wanted to give a TED talk and have a lot of questions about how to make it happen for them. I always start by asking them the same three questions I initially ask TEDx speakers when coaching them:

What is your idea worth sharing?
Why is it important to you to share this message?
What do you want the audience to do as a result of hearing your talk?

Almost always, people develop an idea they want to share through their life experiences. Sometimes they come about through personal stories; sometimes the stories are professional. The trick is to come up with something that evokes emotion, sparks imagination, and inspires action. That action could range from making a mental shift to doing something new physically.

It’s important for people to understand their own why for sharing their story. This typically is because the speaker experienced some kind of pain or challenge, figured out a way to overcome it, and now wants to make sure others don’t have to go through what they went through. But if a speaker can’t personally connect to their talk’s message, they can’t expect the audience to relate to it either.

The last question has to do with the speaker’s call to action. Yes, we can give a talk just to entertain or inform an audience, but the impact of a talk is far greater when the audience buys into the message and, after hearing it, is ready to make a change.

I like to share this analogy with TEDx speakers and all of my clients when they are preparing a presentation: Your talk is a chance to create a unique amusement park ride experience for the audience. Through the stories you share, the emotions you evoke, the images you present, the words you choose, and the energy with which you deliver them, you get to decide how thrilling our ride will be, how many loops or unexpected twists you take us on, and how quickly or slowly you’ll move us through certain parts of the ride. Ultimately, the design of your talk/ride will make people want to ride again or get off and never come back.

Do you have other questions about TED talks or creating a roller coaster experience with your next presentation? Let’s set up a time to chat about your idea worth sharing and where you are in the process. I’d love to help you reach your dream of giving a TED talk.

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