How To Deliver a TED Talk

The first TED conference in 1984 brought together people from the fields of technology, entertainment, and design.In the decades since, it has expanded to include a second annual conference, as well as the TED Fellows and local TEDx programs.A series of videos recorded at its conferences and by its partners, the TED Talks, are given by speakers in many fields who share the organization’s mission of spreading ideas.If you have an idea that is worth spreading, you may want to give a TED Talk.

Step 1: Pick a subject that you’re passionate about.

Part of the reason you should be emotional about what you speak about is that the talks are about ideas worth spreading.Planning a talk on something you’re excited about will motivate you in the planning and refining of your talk and will carry through to your audience when you deliver it.

Step 2: Pick a subject that you have expertise in.

You don’t need to be the world’s foremost expert in your topic, but you do have to know enough to give accurate information in those areas where you have expertise and to seek out experts and peer-reviewed sources for any material.

Step 3: Evaluate the topic for your audience.

Your audience needs and interests should be the focus of your talk.Look for places where your audience’s passion matches your own and build on those, as well as taking the following into account: Your idea should be something you haven’t heard before, or at least not in the way they’ve heard it before.Your idea should be realistic, something that your target audience can put into practice or be able to get the right people in their personal networks to do it.

Step 4: Your premise should be defined and refined.

You have a premise for your talk if you can relate your idea to your audience.You can state your premise in one or two sentences.You may have to revisit your idea several times.

Step 5: You should know your time limit.

The talks are 18 minutes in length.Some ideas can be stated succinctly and completely in less than 5 minutes, so you don’t have to use the full 18 minutes for your talk.You can’t go over 18 minutes.If you’re asked to speak at an event with a shorter time limit, use it.

Step 6: You can develop an understanding of the format by reviewing several TED Talk videos.

To find what feels right to you, you’re not looking to copy the style of a particular speaker, but to get an overview of possible styles.Look at videos that are similar to what you will talk about, as well as videos in areas that interest you.

Step 7: Determine the purpose of your speech.

Education is one of the ways in which your TED talk will share your idea.The talks inform the audience about the world around them.Topics often include the biological, physical, or social sciences, as well as information on new technologies and inventions and how they will impact the listener’s lives.The speakers for these talks have advanced degrees in one of the sciences, but not always.There is entertainment.The creative arts, whether it be writing, art, music, or performing, are covered in these talks.There is inspiration.The talks aim to elevate their audience’s perception of themselves and the world around them, to think about things in new ways, and to apply that knowledge to their lives.Many of the speakers of this type of talk use their own experiences as examples.

Step 8: An outline should be developed.

If you want your audience to care about and understand the facts behind your idea, you should craft an outline to present it in a way that will appeal to them.Your outline should not be obvious to your audience.You don’t tell them what you’re going to say before you say it, and you do not say anything after.If you’re going to speak at a TED event, you need to send your outline or full script about two months in advance of your appearance.The event organizers can give feedback.

Step 9: The introduction needs to be strong.

Your introduction should grab your audience by presenting your idea as quickly as possible without drawing attention to yourself as the speaker.If your idea is relevant to your audience, state it early on.If your idea is an emotionally heavy one, start with an honest approach and show how it relates to something you know is relevant to them.Your audience should be able to feel about the topic.Don’t use a string of statistics.If it comes as a surprise to your audience, a single relevant fact carries more weight.

Step 10: What evidence supports the premise?

List out what the audience already knows and what they need to know, then organize this information into a series of points, where each point presents information that will help your audience grasp the next point.Even if you think it’s important, remove information that your audience doesn’t need to know.Keep and devote more time in your talk to information that’s new to your audience and less time to things they’ve already heard.If you want to tell what happened to someone else, use more evidence that’s supported by your own observations and experience.Keep the use of specialized terminology to a minimum and, where possible, present it in a way that your audience can figure out the definition in context.There are legitimate doubts and contrary evidence.After you’ve made your point, save citations and post them in small print at the bottom of the slides.Someone may be able to help you gather and select your evidence.

Step 11: There are places to visually support the body of your talk.

Although slides aren’t required, you can use simple slides to support your key points.You can hire a designer to help you put the slides together, or you can do it on your own.Contact the event organizers for information about the resolution and aspect ratio before you make any slides.If the organizers don’t give you any technical specifications, use a resolution of 1920 x1080 and an aspect ratio of 16 to 9.Only one point is supported by each slide.Bullet points can be used to make multiple points in a presentation.The slide should speak for itself.If you want to explain what the picture on the slide represents, don’t put a lot of explanatory text on it.Keep it simple if you have a chart on your slide.You have permission to use the images you own.If you’re using an image under a Creative Commons license, you should cite the source at the bottom of the slide.Either fill the entire slide with your image or keep it in the center of the slide.The point size is 42 or larger.Sans are easier to read from a distance than Times New Roman.It’s a good idea to send your custom fonts to the organizers in advance.Only the fonts installed on the computer can be seen by the presentation software.

Step 12: Go for it on a high point.

Your conclusion should leave your audience with a positive feeling about your idea and how it will affect them if they choose to implement it, instead of giving a summary.As long as the call to action isn’t a sales pitch, you can include it in your conclusion.

Step 13: You can practice with a timer.

If you have a time limit on your talk, practicing with a timer will help you pace it so you stay within your allotted time.

Step 14: Practice with test audiences.

The TED organization encourages speakers at its conferences to practice their talks as much as they can in front of as many different audiences as possible.You can practice in front of any or all of the following audiences.You can practice your body language with this.They are family and friends.Initial feedback can be useful, but may be more useful as a source of encouragement.A speaker coach.A speakers’ group.The class is about the subject of your talk.If your talk is about marketing, you could speak in front of a college class.A company speaker event, either at your own company or a company connected in some way to your talk.

Step 15: Rehearsing under the auspices of the TED.

If you want to practice your talk, you can use either online rehearsals or both of these formats.The event organizers can give feedback on how your talk is structured, how well you’ve paced it, and how clearly you deliver it.The online rehearsals are usually scheduled a month in advance.There are rehearsals at the event site.These give you an opportunity to get to know the venue, as well as to prepare for any possible surprises, such as unexpected laughter.

Step 16: Get to know the people you’re talking to.

During the time away from the event stage, talk to the other attendees on a casual basis.This will allow you to know how well your audience meshes with your imagined audience and provide some familiar faces in the crowd when you go on stage.

Step 17: You should stick to your delivery style.

Although you may have changed the content and presentation of your talk a number of times, once you have a style you’re comfortable with, stick with it.Don’t make any last-minute changes to your delivery.

Step 18: Remember why you’re giving a talk.

Sharing your enthusiasm for your message with your audience is more important than the information you’ve spent time creating and refining.