Want to Speak at TED? Find Out 3 Things You’ve Gotta Have

We’re often asked what it takes to speak at a TED event. As speaker coaches who have worked with lots of (fantastic) TEDx speakers, we know exactly what it takes, not only to become a TEDx speaker, but to deliver a talk that matters – one that’s memorable, impactful, and enriching. The three components of any great TED talk are the same, regardless of the individual, topic, or point of view.

The Idea

For a TED talk that people will listen to, you need an idea that is different – something new, something unique, some thought-territory that remains uncharted. And if you want to be the one to talk about this new idea, you need to have the credibility, whether it’s personal or professional, to own it.

Lots of people have ideas, even unique ideas, but you need to build trust with the audience to bring your idea to life. When you share your experience and expertise, you breathe life into your idea.

You should be able to express your idea in one sentence, it acts as your thesis and your main message. Build your talk from the middle out, clarifying this one sentence and building your talk around it will form the basis for a TED talk to remember.

A Narrative

Once you have an idea, you need to wrap that idea in a narrative, or a story. The story acts as a Trojan horse – an effective speaker is able to embed an idea inside a story that is compelling and interesting…and before you know it, the idea sneaks in.

This is why stories are so important – they do more than entertain and inspire, they also carry the critical message we want to convey.

People love to hear stories and a well-structured narrative is compelling, engaging and easily shared. A story of human struggle and eventual triumph is something people relate to and creating tension in your narrative while empathizing with the pain and pleasure of your characters will motivate, persuade and make your story memorable.

A Conversation

Ideas and stories are of course important – but what makes for a *great* TED talk is, once it’s finished, it isn’t really over. The most critical part of any great TED talk is that it sparks conversation and allows for the idea to plant seeds and sprout roots to grow.

We may come away from a TED talk a little bit changed by a spark of a thought – perhaps we leave more informed, inspired, or curious. But it takes a conversation to make that spark become real – for it to transform into learning, inspiration, or action.

The value of a TED talk lies in the exchange and shared understanding between people brought together by the talk. It’s creating intelligent conversations and building a new community of understanding that creates change, this is what inspires us every day at Talk Boutique.

If you have an idea waiting to get out, a story you need to tell and a conversation you want to start… we can help. Contact us to learn about our 1-1 private coaching or find out more about our SpeakEasy Intensive program where you can go from idea to stage-ready in four days.

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