Talking TED

“A good speech is like a pencil: it has to have a point.”

~ Author Unknown

IMG_4986There are people who can talk and then there are people who can talk TED.

What’s the difference?

For one thing, the stakes are much higher when you’re dealing with one of the world’s top platforms for idea sharing. Being comfortable in front of crowds is no longer a game changer, but a given. So how can a professional with a vision try out? Last week, I checked out the You Can Give A TED Talk event held by WeWork, an office space network for growing businesses. Program host Kit Pang, a TEDxBSU speaker and founder of BostonSpeaks, aimed to give an inside lens on applying, from signing up to crafting the presentation. What I anticipated to be a structured lecture turned out be an interactive roundtable with the audience.

The session started off with icebreakers. Participants had to ask the person they were next to what brought them to the event. Once the conversation warmed up, Kit posed the question from the judges’s perspective: What would we look for in selecting a TED worthy talk? After some time to reflect, the audience actively responded with inspiring messages, strong communication presence, and originality as the most common elements.

As far as being chosen for a spot, the process is quite exclusive. With the majority of TEDx events being invitation only, the best way to maximize your chances of getting through is to head to the TEDx website, view the local events calendar, and contact the organizer directly. Hopefully, that contact will jump on board with your idea and submit your name for further consideration. For more information, head to

The final portion of the event took everyone by surprise. Each member had two minutes to come up with an audition piece focusing on the theme of connection. With the subject matter open for interpretation, there was a strong variety of speeches, from a personal fitness journey to a critique on elementary education. When it was my turn, I went with a satirical approach, exploring anti-connection brought on by social media. Although my earnest attempt didn’t fully capture the concept, I received helpful pointers from the audience, such as projecting my voice more clearly and making my topic more relatable. 

Every person has a story to tell, but those who come full circle with their message graduate to the TEDx stage.


Have you thought about applying to TEDx? What idea is worth spreading?


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  1. Thanks for this post, Tatia. I know two Toastmasters in our area who have given TED Talks and both said it was a life changing experience. It sounds like they really have a well-oiled machine as to how the whole process works. Very professional, and very moving.

    • Thanks for your comment Doreen. Out of curiosity, what did the Toastmasters talk about? The You Can Give A TED Talk event got me thinking about the challenges that TEDx judges face in selecting a diverse pool of speakers for their program, considering the level of insight they have to offer.

  2. Tedx sounds like a great opportunity. I like the idea of team building and presenting which I am sure pushed you right out of your comfort zone. I am learning not to take myself so seriously. There is such a freedom in this.

    • Thanks for your comment Phoenicia. There is a sense of empowerment that comes with the territory of going outside of your comfort zone. Presentation exercises are extremely valuable in testing how quickly you can think on your feet and adapt to your surrounding.

  3. I’ve been to a couople fo TED events. I think they are most worthwhile when they are built around a theme. That is relicated a little in this event by having everyone do a short talk about “connection.”

    • Thanks for your comment Ken. With the TED events you attended, what themes did they center on? Did any speaker stand out in particular?

  4. I love TEDx and I am watching it pretty often online. I really would like to attend alive session and of course somewhen in the future to give a lecture. However, there are so many lectures and the most important is to keep the attention and be a good speaker.

    Check out this funny video of guy making fun of giving ted talks – . He is amazing

    • Thanks for your comment Kristina and for sharing the video. I was actually chuckling from start to finish! What was most interesting was how the speaker stuck true to his message of having “nothing” to talk about, but at the same revealed the cheat sheet practices of crafting a TED talk. Have you thought about potentially what subject to focus on for your lecture?

  5. I always enjoy TED Talks as well as TEDx talks. I think it’s probably easier to get onto a TEDx platform than the home organizations speaker roster. It’s a very laborious process and each speaker is coached extensively by the TED Talks team. They charge a lot for these conferences so want to be sure they have top-notch presenters.

    • Thanks for your comment Jeannette. I didn’t even think about the costs associated with the event, so that’s an interesting point you bring up. Have you attended a TED Talk live session? It’s definitely on my bucket list now.

  6. You know Tatia.. I think you should go speak on TED! =) Let’s connect sometimes.

    • Thats quite a compliment coming from an expert speaker like yourself Kit. I learned a lot from the session you led, so who knows what the future may bring 🙂 Feel free to reach me at or through social media if preferred. Look forward to connecting!

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