I recently worked with three very different speakers to prepare three great TEDx presentations.
And while each one deserves, and will get, an in-depth analysis, there’s also lots to learn from the fact that each talk required a different preparation process.
Take the TEDx Match-Up Quiz
Each of my clients was faced with a unique challenge. Can you match each of the three challenges below to the approaches my clients and I followed?
CHALLENGE #1: Like Daniel Kraft, whose brilliant TED talk was her model, my client Erica Frenkel needed to condense a highly technical and nuanced discussion into less than six minutes. Her topic was the Universal Anesthesia Machine — a breakthrough device for underdeveloped countries, that works without electricity or compressed gas. She could not afford to misstate the tiniest point about this “appropriate technology.”
CHALLENGE #2: Shannon Fitzgerald‘s speech hinged on her personal experience, and was meant to motivate the women she spoke with to aim as high in their lives as she has. She was given about 10 minutes, and told to talk about whatever she wanted.
CHALLENGE #3: Journalist Amy Cortese was given 18 minutes to talk about her new book, Locavesting. Since Amy was ready, willing, and able to speak for hours about the value of local investing, her challenge was choosing what to say.
APPROACH A: A big part of preparing this speech was trying to walk in the audience’s shoes. What things would they find enticing? What would be TMI (too much information)?
APPROACH B: This type of speech has to be tightly crafted. We focused on the simplest way to say things, and my client committed most of her talk to memory.
APPROACH C: Structure was all with this speech. Someone who’s a true expert on her topic needs a flexible framework, a few transitions, and she’s ready.
The Envelope, Please!
Here’s the Challenge-Approach match-up:
- Erica’s Universal Anesthesia Machine speech (Challenge #1) was memorized (Approach B). With only four minutes, and a topic that needs careful explanation, improvisation is largely out.
- Shannon’s hardest job (Challenge #2) was to choose stories and references that would strike a chord with her audience without intimidating them (Approach A). Talking about our own lives can be the hardest challenge many people face.
- If you’re an expert writer like Amy (Challenge #3), the hard part is to stop composing sentences, and just talk. A very loose outline (Approach C) is your best tool for transitioning from written to spoken words.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
As you can see, there are many different ways to approach creating a TEDx talk. Each of my clients found the way that worked best for her — and, if you have a TEDx speech coming up (or if you’re speaking anywhere else!), we’ll find the approach that’s best for you.
‘Till then, enjoy public speaking the TEDx way.