TED Talks Drive Presentation Crisis: How To Master a TED Talk

The TED Talk format has rapidly influenced business communication.  TED has upped the presentation ante, and anxious executives and curious onlookers want to know how to TED Talk.

TED talkers are witty, irreverent, passionate, brilliant storytellers.  TED talks can transport you to another dimension or ignite your ACT NOW button with the power of nuclear fusion. The opportunity to present at the annual TED conference in California has made celebrities of obscure academics and conferred credibility on some we might scoff.

Now that TED talks are available on a snazzy Internet site, the impact on reputations and ideas is amplified. More than six million viewers have propelled TED Talker Jill Bolte Taylor to the number one position.   A neurological researcher, she delivers a jaw dropping account of reaching nirvana during her own brain stroke. After all the hours I’ve spent on meditation cushions and yoga mats, I thought I had a sense of what nirvana may look like if I ever reached it.  Watching Dr. Bolte Taylor revealed the limits of my imagination.

These amazing 18-minute presentations appear effortless but actually require a great deal of effort.  If you are interested in TED talking, the place to start is with these 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 sake 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 desperate 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.
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