To understand why TEDx is wildly popular, just take a look at Daniel Kraft’s TEDx talk!
Daniel Kraft’s TEDx Talk Is Masterful, and Appears Effortless
Until recently, most people had only seen bad (droning, mundane) presentations, which is mostly what you get in business. But TED and TEDx are changing that, by putting a vast array of successful, less successful, mundane, and inspired presentations online, before a global audience.
Here’s one great example, brought to me by a public speaking client who was preparing her own TEDx talk. In just four minute and eleven seconds, Daniel Kraft explains a breakthrough medical technology, and what it means for all our lives.
How Daniel Kraft’s TEDx Talk Succeeds
Here’s a short list of what Kraft does right:
- Great use of visual aids: That bag of bone marrow is a real attention grabber. (Does it need to be refrigerated?!)
- Instead of describing bone marrow donation in the abstract, he creates “Bob, the volunteer donor,” and takes us right into Bob’s experience, and that of the operating room staff.
- Another great visual: The model of Bob’s pelvis, with swiss cheese punctures from the old (excruciatingly painful) collection device.
- And here comes the alternative: Kraft’s new Marrow Miner, explained through a video that’s elegant, clear, and mind-boggling.
- Kraft then walks us through the research that was done on his device, and how the outcome surprised even him (again, we’re there with him in the moment).
- He then poses the most important public speaking question — “So why should you care?” — and answers it by telling us the medical and social impacts of his invention.
- Finally, Kraft paints an upbeat picture of the future (you may be able to bank your own bone marrow!), and ends with an image of the many people whose lives have already been saved by this device.
Are you sold? I certainly was.
And that’s no surprise, because this presentation is a whirlwind tour of all the ways a speaker can engage his or her audience, delivered with low-key, seemingly “effortless” charm.
In Spite of How Daniel Kraft’s TEDx Talk Looks, There’s No Such Thing as “Effortless”
The most important lesson from this and many other TED and TEDx videos, is this: The more effortless you want to appear, the more you’ll need to work your butt off.
My friend, the music and audio critic Wes Phillips, was fond of saying, “Easy reading is mighty hard writing,” and that’s just as true for public speaking.
Does anyone really think that Daniel Kraft spun this four minute gem off the top of his head? You’re looking at dozens, perhaps hundreds, of hours of work — conceiving, crafting, practicing, then presenting some very sophisticated ideas in a simple, accessible, and delightful way.
And that’s ultimately what TEDx is giving us. Beyond the many valuable ideas they presents, TED and TEDx conferences are doing more to promote the ideal of good public speaking than anything else that’s happened in our lifetimes.
And hey, eventually, even business might catch on!