Conference,  Fulbright,  On the move,  Plastic pollution,  Research,  TED talk

TEDx style talk – how to prepare

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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…

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