So you’re preparing for a public speaking TEDx talk? As a TEDx Speaker Coach, I am often asked – how do you prepare for a TED-style talk and what makes a good TEDx talk? By the way, TEDx refers to independently organised events held in the community under licence from TED.

Firstly before you even submit your application to speak at TEDx, you must be prepared to put in long hours, strive for excellence, and work to prepare, practice and refine your speech until it is the best it can be.

The TEDx or TED style talk

Even if you’re not planning or aspiring to give a public speaking TEDx talk, the TED style talk is now often the preferred format for many event planners.

A TED style talk is becoming popular among conference organisers who want their speakers to deliver shorter, entertaining talks with minimal or no slides…and definitely no notes. Gone are the days when presenters get to hide behind a lectern with notes and a fixed microphone, giving an hour long keynote.

The difference between a TED style talk and other presentations.

The public speaking TEDx talk style is quite different from any other business presentation. Here are some of the main differences

  • A TED style talk is delivered from memory with no notes. The speaker wears a wireless lapel or headset microphone.
  • TED style presentations have minimal or even no slides. If slides are used, they are highly visual and the images are of exceptional quality.
  • TED style talks are personal, about a topic that the speaker is knowledgeable and deeply passionate about.
  • TED style talks are simple and concise. Any superfluous information is taken out of the speech for the sake of time. Every second counts in a TED style talk where the aim is to keep the audience on the edge of their seats wanting more, not wishing you’d hurry up and finish.
  • TED style talks take the listener on a journey with a narrative style. A good speaker will have the listeners following along in their footsteps, and allow the audience to feel what the speaker felt whilst on that journey.
  • TED style talks tell a story. The best ones evoke the imagination of the audience and allow them to experience the talk with salient sights, sounds, textures, tastes or even smells (think of how you can bring your talk to life by using sensory anchors).
  • TED style speakers are not afraid to show their human side. Share your wins but also your personal failings and losses. It forges a deep connection with the audience and they will be able to relate to what you are saying.

Public speaking TEDx talk – Where speakers go wrong

Too many slides or too much information
No one cares about your slides. If you do use them, keep them simple. A clear, high quality image or one or two words works well

Too much information
The TED style talk is a maximum of 18 minutes, sometimes less. Speakers often speed up their talk so they can explain more ideas. It doesn’t do your talk justice and misses the mark. If you are given 18 minutes or less, stick to that 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 and lots of it. Allow enough time to practice.

A lack of vocal variety and energy shifts
In order for the audience to stay riveted to you, it is important that you provide them with vocal and visual highs and lows. If you speak at the same rate, tone and pitch for the whole talk or have the same level of energy it gets uninteresting after a while.

Here’s how you SCORE at a TED-style talk

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

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

O – is for outstanding
Your aim is to make an emotional connection with the 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 – is for relevant
A good talk exceeds the expectations of the audience and for me, those talks I resonate most with are the ones I can personally relate to. When you are preparing your material, the audience has to be front and centre in your mind. Ask yourself the question ‘what do they need?’

E – is for entertaining
People enjoy being entertained. People want to hear a great idea presented by a confident speaker. Aim to add humour and personal stories wherever you can to make your talk SCORE.

As a storytelling expert, known as The Story Midwife, I help leaders to create compelling presentations through business storytelling.

Before becoming a Professional Speaker, I worked for over twenty years as a midwife.

I now live and breathe stories as a speaker, trainer, performer and coach.

As a World Class Speaking & Storytelling Coach, I’ll help you mine, refine and deliver a captivating story for your business or brand. Whether it is the boardroom, podium or stage; I can show you how to develop a persuasive presentation with a compelling story that will be hard to forget by anyone who gets to experience it.

If you would like to find out about training for your team, I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me lisa@speakingsavvy.com.au or call +61 (0)438 902042.