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TEDxRheinMain Speaker Toolkit


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What makes a great TEDxRheinMain talk?

What makes a great TEDxRheinMain talk?

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  • 2. OURMISSION.BE PART OF SOMETHING MEANINGFUL We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we're building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the germany's most inspired thinkers, and also a local community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other. Today, TED is best thought of as a global community. It's a community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. PASSION
  • 3. ABOUTUS. TEDX In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx - local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx RheinMain event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. TED began in 1984 as a gathering place for innovators and leaders in the fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design. 29 years later, TED has become a nexus for a global community of individuals who believe in the power of Ideas Worth Spreading. currently has a library of over 1.500 amazing talks of such high quality that the site has become the platinum standard for innovation in digital storytelling. TED
  • 5. COMMANDMENTS.THE HEART OF EVERY TEDTALK 1. Dream big. Strive to create the best talk you have ever given. 2. Show us the real you. Share your passions, your dreams... and also your fears. Be vulnerable. Speak or failure as well as success. 3. Make the complex plain. Don’t try to dazzle intellectually. Don’t speak in abstractions. Explain! Give examples. Tell stories. Be specific. 4. Connect with people’s emotions. Make us laugh! Make us cry! 5. No selling from the stage! Unless we have specifically asked you to, do not talk about your company or organization. And don’t even think about pitching your products or services or asking for funding from stage. 6. Feel free to comment on other speakers, to praise or to criticize. Controversy energizes! Enthusiastic endorsement is powerful! 7. Don’t flaunt your ego. Don’t boast. It’s the surest way to switch everyone off. 8. If possible, don’t read your talk. Notes are fine. But if the choice is between reading or rambling, then read! 9. You must end your talk on time. Doing otherwise is to steal time from the people that follow you. We won’t allow it. 10.Rehearse your talk in front of a trusted friend... for timing, for clarity, for impact.
  • 6. PREPARATION. YOUR STORY Your TEDxTalk should be focused and sharp. It should go deep rather than broad. It should include visuals that develop your ideas, rather than distract from your purpose. It can include unique aspects of your personal experience or projects, but these examples should be powerful, illuminating and succinct. There is absolutely no toleration for corporate, political, or religious plugs from stage. That is an abuse of the TEDx platform. Let’s set one thing straight: TED presenters might make their TEDTalks look effortless, but there are hours of thinking, preparing, practicing, slide revision, and memorization involved behind each spectacular Talk. We expect the same level of commitment from you. SETTING OUT TEDTalks don’t run longer than 18 minutes. At TEDxRheinMain however, some talks will be even shorter. Everybody’s case will be a bit different, but presenters should expect to fit their presentation into 8, 12, or 18 minutes. We will be very strict on presentation times. TIMING
  • 7. PREPARATION. VISUAL A single, strong, graphic image or succinct line of text will tell your story better than a crowded collage or packed paragraph. Remember, people need to process everything you’re saying while simultaneously absorbing your slides. Rather than one complex slide, show several slides, each with one idea, image or data point. Please eliminate slides that are essentially Headline + Bullet-Points. These can get very tiring. We will be looking over your slides with you too, and making sure they’re in line with our Tech Specs. We hate to murder a cliché, but practice really does make perfect. The ideal presenter will speak slowly and clearly, will deliver his or her speech mostly by memory, will be passionate and engaging, and yet will be flexible to possible technical glitches or memory lapses. Of course, we can be flexible due to other time commitments you probably have, but we do expect you to rehearse, and rehearse, and rehearse. You should refer frequently to the TED Commandments – 10 tips for speakers on our next few pages. SPEAKER TIPS If at any point you have a question (regardless of how trivial you think it may be), please do not be afraid to ask us. We are here to help you make the best talk possible and we are more than willing to help you out. If you feel you need professional help, please let us know and we will put you in contact with our professional design partners. HELP
  • 8. FORM. TEDx Talks are a showcase for speakers presenting well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes. If you haven’t seen a TEDx Talk, go to and watch at least one. Phil Plait How to defend Earth from asteroids v=rjECbQ1r-k0 WHAT IS A TED TALK? No -- it wouldn't be a TEDx Talk. The time limit is part of what makes TEDx Talks work. And remember: Shorter talks are not lesser talks. It may only take 5 minutes to make your point unforgettably. Joe Smith How to use a paper towel v=2FMBSblpcrc CAN I GO OVER 18 MINUTES?
  • 9. DEVELOPMENT. DO I NEED TO BE AN EXPERT? You do not need to be the world’s foremost expert on the topic, but you do have to be an expert. Please remember that the audience relies on you to give accurate information, so whatever you say in your talk, please fact-check — especially facts you may take for granted: statistics, historical anecdotes, scientific stats. If you're drawing an example from a discipline that is not your main area of knowledge, use research from widely accepted and peer-reviewed sources, and, if at all possible, consult with experts directly. Like a good magazine article, your idea can be new or surprising, or challenge a belief your audience already has. Or it can be a great basic idea with a compelling new argument behind it. An idea isn’t just a story or a list of facts. A good idea takes evidence or observations and draws a larger conclusion. WHAT MAKES A GOOD IDEA? Write your idea down in one or two sentences. Ask yourself three questions: Is my idea new? Is it interesting? Is it factual and realistic? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, refine your idea. Ask someone you respect who doesn’t work in your field, and if they answer “no” to any of these questions, refine your idea. If your TEDx event organizing team answers “no” to any of these questions, refine your idea. IS MY IDEA READY?
  • 10. SCRIPT. There are many theories on the best structure for a great presentation. There’s no single trick to it, but here is at least one structure that we’ve found to work particularly well: 1. Start by making your audience care, using a relatable example or an intriguing idea. 2. Explain your idea clearly and with conviction. 3. Describe your evidence and how and why your idea could be implemented. 4. End by addressing how your idea could affect your audience if they were to accept it. STRUCTURE
  • 12. SLIDES. TIPS Assess your own skill level. You can make great simple slides if you stick to photographic images, running edge-to- edge. If your slide ideas are more complex and involve type, consider working with a designer. • Images and photos: To help the audience remember a person, place or thing you mention, you might use images or photos. • Graphs and infographics • No slide should support more than one point. • Use as little text as possible -- if your audience is reading, they are not listening. Slides can be helpful for the audience, but they are by no means necessary or relevant to every talk. Ask yourself: Would my slides help and clarify information for the audience, or would they distract and confuse them? Some great examples of slides can be found in the talks by Dan Phillips, Jarrett Krosoczka and Rick Guidotti on The most important rule for slides: Keep it simple. SHOULD I USE SLIDES?
  • 13. REHEARSE. • Time yourself. Practice with the clock winding down in front of you. Do it until you get the timing right every time. • Practice standing still, planted firmly in one spot on stage. Have a friend watch you and stop you from pacing back and forth or shifting your weight from leg to leg. We can’t stress this enough. Rehearse until you’re completely comfortable in front of other people: different groups of people, people you love, people you fear, small groups, large groups, peers, people who aren’t experts in your field. Listen to the criticisms and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. If someone says you sound “over-rehearsed,” this actually means you sound stilted and unnatural. Keep rehearsing, and focus on talking like you’re speaking to just one person in a spontaneous one-way conversation. REHEARSE, REHEARSE! REHEARSE, REHEARSE!