TED speakers are intelligent, passionate and respected. And the techniques used by TED speakers are ones you want to use for your own presentations and speeches. But the first step of giving a TED-like talk is writing it.
Unfortunately, writing is harder than it seems. According to a recent Harvard Business Review study, 65 percent of participants thought the writing samples in the study were bad. However, only 16 percent of participants thought their own writing was poor. The problem: all of the samples were the work of the participants.
What does this mean? It means there’s a large gap between a person’s writing capability and a person’s ability to objectively analyze that capability. In short: you may not think you need to work on your writing, but you do.
Don’t worry, I have you covered–here are three tips to writing a TED-like talk for your own presentation needs.
FIND YOUR MAIN OBJECTIVE IN YOUR TED TALK
Remember, TED is all about “ideas worth spreading.” But this is good advice for choosing a topic for any talk on any stage. Once you have your topic, it’s time to think about why that topic matters.
Choosing a topic isn’t as important as crafting your message about it. Why should your audience listen to you? Why is your topic important to them? Answer these questions and you’ll have your message.
Don’t get bogged down with too many objectives. Find the unique message of your talk and stick to it. You don’t want to confuse your audience with tangents and offshoots. Your talk should be your message and your message should be your talk.
EXPLORE UNEXPECTED SOLUTIONS
TED likes innovation. That means thinking of old problems in a new way. Instead of supporting your message with the same old clichés, try tackling your topic from a new angle.
Innovation doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. Familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of your topic’s industry and expand on already existing research. It’s hard to be innovative when you haven’t done the research about what has come before. Again, remember to settle on one solution and stick with it.
Brainstorm the old-fashioned way. Good old pen and paper can, ironically, help you to think of new solutions for old problems.
TELL A STORY IN YOUR TED TALK
Research has shown just how stories affect the brain. By increasing blood flow to all parts of the brain, stories spur connections in your audience’s brains. That may seem like an obvious statement, but the brain decides what to remember–and it remembers stories better than dry facts and figures.
“Maybe stories are just data with a soul,” Brené Brown said in her TED Talk on vulnerability.
Need help crafting a story? There are plenty of resources about storytelling online to aid you, but start at the beginning. Every story has a beginning, middle and end. Make an outline and map out a story structure to follow. The first step of any TED-worthy talk is writing a compelling speech. Follow these tips and you’ll be talking like TED in no time.