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  • Writer's pictureAmara Leggett

How to Give a Successful TED Talk

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Speaking in front of 500 people or more can seem daunting when you have the reputation that the TED organizations carry. Your story is worth telling, especially to a large audience, because your perspective will change someone’s life. I am going to share the 5 steps to give a empowering speech, so you can proudly sport a TED Speaker in your personal brand. 1. Buy “TED Talks: The Official TED Guide To Public Speaking” by Chris Anderson Chris Anderson is the owner of TED, which is a nonprofit organization, and also the author of the informative book. This helped me craft my speech when I had no where to start. TED’s guide to public speaking will dive deeply into how to start your speech with a story, question, and many other ways to wow your audience. If you have nowhere to end your timed speaking slot, this book will also give you great ways to do so. Another book that may assist you in your efforts is “Talk Like TED: The 9 Public - Speaking Secrets To The World’s Top Minds” authored by Carmine Gallo.

2. Design Your Speech I started writing my speech as a story. I knew that I wanted to start with a story about myself, but describe it as another person’s experiences. Then I made the body of my talk separate into three steps to a successful plan and within those procedures were actionable steps to make the impossible possible. I ended the nine minute moment on the red circle carpet with a brief moment of my predictions for a better future by playing off of the “I have a dream speech” said by Martin Luther King Jr.

If you have nowhere to begin, start by drafting the story that you have been dying to tell about your life. Then you can modify what you want to include into actionable steps and make it fluid. Play off of what you presented when you auditioned to be a TED Speaker. What do you want to leave the audience with? How do you want to make an impact on each person who hears your words?

3. Practice Makes Perfect I had three months to practice my talk and I waited until I was one month away from standing in front of a lot of people, so start now. Practice it every day and several times a day. Go for a walk each day and begin reciting parts your speech. Then rehearse while you are in the shower, getting dressed, and driving. Also, make a recording of yourself saying the speech and listen to it while you sleep. When you practice it enough, especially while you are doing other tasks, you will notice that hiccups in your surroundings do not disturb you from practicing.

4. Present To An Audience Presenting to your family, an organization, or school is a great way to receive an assessment on the content in your speech and how you tell your story. I spoke to my college english class and took note of great critiques on my speed of talking and grammatical errors. Although you may be nervous to speak your personal stories, this is a great way to feel assured of your writing and be told real-time feedback. This will allow you to know how you can present better when it comes time for the big show.

5. Speak At Your TED Event The moment that you have been waiting for is here and it is finally time to tell your story. You will be given the chance to practice plenty of times over a period of days. You may have moments of forgetting while you are on stage, but you will have spent months practicing. When it is the big day make sure to breathe slowly. One thing that Julie Wiles mentioned before she walked out on to the stage and I would go after her was “Instead of thinking about how afraid you are, imagine how you will feel after you have done that frightening thing. You are here for them.”

Speaking at a TED event is a great life purpose and business opportunity. I discovered that I wanted to be a professional speaker after standing on the TEDx stage. I now travel across the country speaking to children and adults about how to make the impossible possible and build a successful brand. I guarantee you that someone will come up to you and thank you after the event is over for sharing your story. That one response from an audience member is worth the months of developing your talk to change lives. Now all that follows is hundreds, thousands, and millions of views on Youtube.



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