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TEDx refers to independently organised events held in the community under licence from TED.

You may be considering applying to speak at a TEDx event, or you may have been invited to give a TEDx talk.

TEDx talk

Even if you’re not an aspiring TEDx speaker, this short style of presentation is popular among event planners. Having a line up of more speakers giving shorter talks, with a minimum or even no slides, is becoming more common in place of longer keynote presentations.

Features of a TEDx talk

  • One big idea is the premise of each talk.
  • Delivered without notes.
  • Minimal or even no slides. If slides are used, they are highly visual and the images are high quality.
  • TEDx talks are concise. Any superfluous information is removed so that the talk gets to the point.
  • Every second counts. The aim is to keep the audience wanting more, not wishing you’d hurry up and finish.
  • TEDx talks take the listener on a journey often with a narrative style.
  • The best TEDx talks tell a story, evoking the imagination of the audience and allowing them to experience the talk with salient sights, sounds, textures, tastes or smells.
  • The speaker is not afraid to open up and show their human side.

TEDx talks – Where can speakers go wrong?

Too many slides or too much information
TEDx is not the time for Death by Powerpoint. If you choose to use slides, keep them simple. A clear, high-quality image with minimal words works well.

Too much information
The timing of a TEDx talk is capped at 18 minutes. Speakers often increase their pace so they can fit more in. Practice so that you can stick to the allocated time.

Lack of practice – a “wing it” mentality
TEDx is not the time to wing it for the sake of spontaneity, you can still be natural and authentic with preparation and practice. Allow enough time to practice.

A lack of vocal variety and changes in energy
In order for the audience to stay with you, offer them some vocal and visual highs and lows. If you speak at the same rate, tone and pitch for the whole talk or have a consistent energy level it gets uninteresting after a while.

SCORE a TEDx talk

S –  Simplicity
One idea. What is the one thing that you want the audience to take away as a result of your TEDx talk? Stick to that one theme.

C – Clarity
A simple message told simply works best. Clarity of message, of voice and of any slides you may be using is essential. Have a clear structure and transitions, so that the audience can easily follow along.

O – Outstanding
Aim to make an emotional connection with your audience. Ordinary speakers present facts and information. Outstanding speakers evoke emotions in the audience. Be yourself, prepare well and practice, practice, and practice more. This is your time to shine.

R – Relevant
A good talk exceeds the expectations of the audience and the talks that we resonate with are the ones that are of relevance to us. When you are preparing your material, make sure it is audience-centric. Leave your ego behind.

E – Entertaining
People want to hear a great idea presented by a confident and credible speaker. Aim to add humour and personal stories wherever you can to make your talk memorable, entertaining and engaging.

This image is of Conor McLaughlin TEDx UWA speaker and myself, at TEDxUWA 2018


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

Whether you have a hidden story of your feet, or you want to nail your next presentation, I can help you.

My services include: 

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories. 

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.