“A good speech is like a pencil: it has to have a point.”
~ Author Unknown
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 https://www.ted.com/about/conferences/speaking-at-ted.
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?