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10 Tips to Increase Your Chance at Winning a TEDx Audition


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Perhaps 1 of 12 drinks may help you to relax while awaiting your turn to audition, but will not make you the confident, calm and coherent candidate. I am sharing strategies that helped me win Audience Choice Award for my talk as I pursued on my journey for social change.

Best wishes,
Leila Kubesch

Published in: Education
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10 Tips to Increase Your Chance at Winning a TEDx Audition

  1. 1. 10 Tips to Increase Your Chance at Winning a TEDx Audition By Leila Kubesch
  2. 2. 1. Be compassionate towards the audience members. No matter how heavy your topic is, lighten the burden--perhaps with some humor and by sheltering the audience from painful details.
  3. 3. 2. Connect with the audience. Why do stand-up comedians often dress down? Unless you are a foreigner with an accent keep it casual! Formal dress can sometimes make a speaker less relatable, and very few get away with wearing a suit for the audition.
  4. 4. 3. Focus on making the audition. Never write you entire speech for an audition. It is almost impossible to effectively reduce it down to the 2.5 minute limit after completing the entire text. You will have ample time to compose the rest after being selected, and you will also get a free coach to mentor you if you win.
  5. 5. 4. Start strong and end strong. Memorize you introduction and conclusion. Get it down with no mistakes.
  6. 6. 5. Connect with the international community. I give this advice to people I coach to help them reach out to non-native English speakers: always face the audience while you are speaking. Non-English speakers often rely on being able to watch your face to fully comprehend your message. If you choose to move to the side, do during a pause before making an important point. TED talks, like other speaking venues such as Toastmaster’s competitions, tend to draw many international audience members. If you can reach to them, you can also capture everyone else.
  7. 7. 6. Don't cheapen your talk. Stating your name and title before you speak makes you seem less important. This information will be written on the screen above you at the audition and final talk. Safeguard the time allotted for the content of your talk.
  8. 8. 7. Refrain from pacing while practicing. One year while serving as a speaking coach for TEDx, one speaker approached me for help after noticing that my mentee was calm and at ease. She asked to practice with me. Suddenly she started pacing quickly and informed me that was the only way she could talk. I was stunned! Remember that speakers are required to stay within a limited perimeter. We had only a short time, so I trained her on breathing techniques and a few standing yoga poses to ease anxiety and stand still, which worked well. The lesson is that you need to practice your talk within a small space.
  9. 9. 8. Do not bring photographs to the audition. A picture is worth a thousand words. I recall one speaker who brought a large poster filled with tiny photos from his 4-year journey around the world on a bike. Everyone watched the photos before he gave his audition. By the time he spoke, people looked bored. He had nothing new to offer the audience even though his speech was good.
  10. 10. 9. Record yourself then turn off the volume. This will allow you to observe your body language to assess if it is congruent with your words and intention. Then turn on the volume without watching yourself. This will enable you to focus on your vocal intonation and rate of speech.
  11. 11. 10. Choose your drinks wisely. No matter which drink you opt to have, avoid drinking anything cold because it can impact your voice. Consider water at room temperature.
  12. 12. Here is my talk: I used this talk to bring awareness about the plight of emancipated foster youth in Ohio to help HB 50 to pass allowing these youth to have a home until age 21. The bill passed.