I was recently invited to be one of the plenary speakers of the Fulbright annual conference in Puebla, Mexico, having a TEDx style talk – which immediately got me nervous since – well – I love TED talks *imposter-syndrom-kick-in*
So first thing first – get a book on TED talks! I figure – I can watch as many TED talks possible but it probably helps to read (reading helps everything – I am a book-a-holic and read probably way too much fantasy and future dystopia and young adult novels for my own good, but it is a good escape from the realities of climate change and microplastic pollution and ocean acidification and the world falling apart).
This book actually helped me prepare – and it is filled with loads of amazing tips!
Some of the tips that I found particularly helpful were:
- make it personal – bring in a story about yourself to make people more familiar with you. So I told a story about my family travel to Greece and my own experience with plastic pollution to set the stage.
- Have some good jokes – now that one is difficult… I am not a comedian, but found myself researching good one liners but nope – I am just not any good at it. Turned out, making fun of yourself also works – so if nothing else, people were laughing at me (and with me – I have no issue making fun of myself).
- Dont lecture – share an idea! Now this was something I liked the most – and the book was filled with good ideas about how to reframe an issue, give metaphors, make the audience relate to the issue differently.
- Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse some more. I was first going to just memorize – but that does not always work the book said – and they were true. I rehearsed and knew what I would say on each slide and had it all memorized in terms of order and content – but I am too spontaneous to be able to memorize a script – I could never be an actress in other words.
The books has many more tips of course – and refers to many great TED talks and what worked – and did not work – for these and how much preparation goes into them. I want to mention that my talk went well, I was pleased with getting laughter at the correct places I had hoped for and that I got my message through – though it was still a depressing talk – there really isnt anything funny about plastic pollution…