We talk to a lot of people about TEDx and get all sorts of reactions and questions.
Many can’t believe Temecula has TEDx conferences. We sure do and it started back in 2012! Some respond with blank stares, not sure what we're talking about or who the heck TED is, “He’s that bear from the movie, right?”
But one of the most frequent questions we get asked is also the TOUGHEST to answer. That's why we thought it would be a good idea to write a blog post about it.
“What makes a great TEDTalk?"
Let's begin at the source.
Chris Anderson is the Head Curator at TED Global. He says, “Your goal is not to be charismatic or entertaining or to tell stories about your life, or your organization, or any of that. Your real goal is to seed an idea in your audience’s mind.”
June Cohen, the Executive Producer of TED Media, just so happened to give TEDTalk about this very topic. Here are a few insights she shared.
- Does it tell us something new? — Something we haven’t heard before or a new angle on an old topic. New ideas. Fresh ideas. Different ideas. Relevant ideas.
- Does it evoke our emotions? — Lumps in the throat. Butterflies in the stomach. Aha moments. Trigger something inside the audience that triggers a contagious desire to share with others.
- Does it take us somewhere? — The best talks pull the audience in and take them on a journey. They’re not a lecture with just facts. They make the audience feels part or the experience and connected to the speaker. A great TEDx talk has a personal story at the center that tells the audience something about the speaker. Even if the audience knows nothing about the topic, they can relate on a deeply human level to the speaker.
- Does it captivate the audience? — Start Strong. Stick to one idea. Avoid racing ahead of the audience or using alienating jargon. Add global context to any local ideas, so those watching from anywhere in the world can follow along. A great TED Talk has to be accessible to everyone.
Outside of TED New York, a lot of speakers and pundits have chimed in on this topic of what makes a great TED talk, offering their take on “The TED Commandments.”
The TED Commandments
- Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick
- Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before
- Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion
- Thou Shalt Tell a Story
- Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Skae of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy
- Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
- Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desparate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
- Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
- Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
- Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee
There is no perfect formula.
A lot of what makes a brilliant TEDTalk is intangible and has everything to do with the sincerity of the person on stage. It often feels like the idea has been living inside them for their entire life, developing, unfolding, fermenting, until that moment it’s ready to be shared with the world. That’s the magic.
“Was this person born to give that talk?” is a question we like to pose. If that answer is yes, chances are it’s gonna be a great.
Leave a comment below and tell us: what makes a great TEDTalk for you?