Congratulations! You’ve been invited to give a TED talk. This non-profit talk series is the gold standard of speeches, so you should be honored to be in the even’s roster. It will look wonderful on your resume and website. You’ve undoubtedly been chosen because you’re an expert in your field, be it medicine, literature, pop culture, gerontology, or careers, but it’s not the topic that will have your audience hanging onto your every word. No, it’s more than that. They will be there to learn, but they will remember you for your stage presence and personality. Think about your favorite TED talk speakers. They may speak on a variety of subjects, but they all have something in common. They have an amazing stage presence. Today, we discuss five strategies for creating Ted talks to help you create that stage presence and make your Ted talk go viral!
5 Strategies for Creating TED Talks to Make Your TED Talk Go Viral
Strategy #1: Make a Great First Impression
When you first get up on the stage, the audience will immediately form an opinion of you. That initial opinion will determine whether or not they listen to you, and how seriously they will take your talk. Make that first impression a good one. Get up there, be confident, be approachable, speak with decisiveness, and smile.
Strategy #2: Don’t Just Stand There
You know the person you usually are on a Friday evening with your best friends? You’re animated. You’re funny. You’re intelligent, witty and have a comeback for everything. You’re up on current events, and you’re sympathetic, engaging and interesting. You want to be that person on stage.
You know you’re a character, so let the audience in on that part of your personality. Share anecdotes and gesticulate. Make the audience laugh. TED talks are 50 percent facts and 50 percent showmanship. You’ll be far more interesting than if you were in college-professor mode, rhyming off stats with precision.
Strategy #3: Don’t Be Afraid to Use Hand Gestures (No, Not That Kind)
When you’re truly interested in a subject, you’re far more likely to speak enthusiastically about it. Think about what you look like when you’re talking about something you really love. You get animated, right? You start gesturing and your charisma level goes up about 10 points. Don’t be afraid to show your love for something – it will get the audience’s attention in a way that can’t be reproduced by someone who was just paid to speak about a random subject. Express yourself with your hands. Use your fingers to point, and ball up your fists if it’s necessary. Walk around the stage, too.
Strategy #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Smile
You’re afraid of killing your credibility, so you plan to be up there, acting as seriously as possible. Big mistake. Smiling makes you look approachable, friendly, and relaxed. Smiling is also a sign that you’re comfortable about your subject (which all experts should be) and fun.
When you have fun, your audience will, too. So don’t be afraid to show those pearly whites onstage.
Strategy #5: Don’t Read Off of Cue Cards
If you must use cue cards, or any kind of notes at all, make them as few and as inconspicuous as possible. It will remind your audience of a bored speaker at a charity dinner.
The best speakers don’t have any notes at all. They speak completely off the cuff. If you do need to use notes, reserve them for statistics or hard-to-remember numbers.
It’s Not That Complicated
See, it’s not so hard to give a good TED talk. You’ve already got the knowledge – just infuse those smarts with your personality, and you’ll be sure to shine on stage. I’m looking forward to catching your talk online!
Michelle Riklan is The Leaders Institute's ® TED Talk Design expert. If you have had the honor of being chosen to deliver a TED talk, she can help you organize, design, and practice your talk so that your presentation goes viral! Call us at (800) 975-6151 to schedule a coaching session with her.