The book Talk like TED by Carmine Gallo is a must read if you are looking to give any type of presentation and not specifically a TED or a TEDx. I have tried to compile my learnings from it, though I would highly recommend you to go through the entire book. The examples the author uses will force you to believe in the points I have mentioned below. Hope this is helpful to answer your question, “How to give a presentation?” or “How to prepare for TEDx Talk”

How to come up with a topic for the presentation?

  • What makes your heart sink? Choose a topic which you are really passionate about and feel deep about it
  • Write everything you think you are credible and can convey, select 5 points from those, think how to deliver in a precise way.
  • 144 character idea: 1 take away for the audience

The content! What should you include?

  • The Rule of 3 – Perfect to grasp: A research suggests that people generally tend to remember three things at one go. So if you can divide your entire talk into three parts and give three learnings, that would be ideal. This is the reason why people remember phone numbers in three parts.
  • A Personal Story:
    • A genuine story related to you in ‘detail’
    • Related to the theme of conversation, success or failure
    • Emotional and passionate. Will be possible only if you say a story from your experience and not a story which you read or heard someday
    • Build some curiosity/mystery
    • Take feedback from people to see if your story is interesting. Ask random people, “Can I tell you a story?”
  • Do not lie and believe in each and everything you are saying. I have in fact experienced the difference a number of times. There is a different excitement and passion if you say the truth. You are more confident
  • Novelty:
    • Tell something new/fresh or something which is packed in a different way
    • A perspective which none had thought about (Can refer to Freakonomics)
    • A fresh way to an old problem
    • Something to be applied daily
  • Don’t be abstract. Teach/Convey something tangible so that everyone has a to-do plan for it. For example: if you say be different, be unconventional that is abstract.

“Brain is a lazy shit of meat”

  • Jaw dropping moments:
    • Data showcased in an interesting way
    • Appealing to emotions
  • Things which make people smile. Humor, anecdotes, observations
  • Explaining a complex thing in a simple way gives confidence to listeners about mastery
  • Comparisons for easy understanding. For example: comparing data and sand.
  • Quotes something funny, but not a popular one
  • Try to include humor, shock, and stats
  • Show the big picture before getting into the details

You, except the content

  • Where is your hand?
    • Keep it in the power circle, below your chest, above your waist
    • Use natural gestures and do not think
    • Do not touch your hair or your face. Shows lack of confidence
    • Move with a purpose and do not keep it in pocket
  • How do you speak?
    • Focus on pace, volume, pitch
    • Do give pauses in between
    • 190 wps – 2500-3200 words at max for the TED format
  • Stand tall, walk and move. Walk out of video frame while practicing
  • 2 minute stretch your hand wide open before the talk. Gives confidence

How to convey what you want to convey?

  • Have a conversation tone while you speak. This would require some practice so that you become comfortable
  • Express feeling (sad happy passion)
  • Use more ‘WE’ than ‘I’
  • Ignore buzzwords
  • Fake it till you become it. Act confident
  • Speak from the heart
  • You cannot wow, if they don’t understand you
  • People remember vivid events. Use props and do something which people will remember. People do not forget how they feel

How to make your presentation?

  • Use ppt only as a background to the talk, to give a structure. It is impossible to multitask two sources of information
    • Use only one theme per slide
    • Build a story before the ppt
    • Maximum of 40 words in first 10 slides
    • Limit the number of slides. It does take courage to delete a slide
    • Make them use other senses than audio: visual, feel
  • Using an image:
    • Only audio, the retention of the content is 10%, but that increases to 65% with an image
    • Use images to enhance words not just duplicate them. Maybe, replace words with images
    • For example:
      • to portrait, economy use a black screen
      • a contrast of African children image and global warming
      • Water you have been drinking is from this source (image). Half of you will suffer from diarrhea
    • Some text and image, followed by statistics

Concluding tips:

You cannot move people if they don’t trust you, like you or admire you. You need to be real and your audience should be able to believe that. Think of a 144 character heading, three messages, statistics, stories and examples for the presentation.

  • Creativity thrives under constraints, so limit your duration and the number of slides
  • Don’t take yourself or the topic seriously
  • Stay in your lane, be yourself: raw emotional
  • Practice, practice, and practice. 100s of hours of practice. Record your video and see how you can improve
  • Prepare + relax + speak from heart

Wishing you success, not good luck!