TEDx@TEDActive 2011 Inﬂuencing Speaker Preparation Ruth Milligan TEDxColumbus / ar.tic.u.la.tionMonday, February 28, 2011Presented to TEDx organizers at the TEDx workshop at TEDActive in Palm Springs, February27, 2011.
Monday, February 28, 2011Every speaker has their own preparation style, right?And we know that they can’t wait until the last minute to get their talk ready. But what canyou do to help inﬂuence their speaker preparation path? I have three points:Recruit with expectationsManage the timelineHelp guide the story
Recruit with clear expectations.Monday, February 28, 2011 Expectations aren’t set when you accept a speaker, they are made when you have an initialconversation.The best way to a great speaker is to start laying out expectations with the ﬁrst conversation.“You realize this is a unique talk, probably one you’ve never given before. Even thoughyou’ve talked about your idea before, we’ll want to shape the talk to be concise, absolutelynon-promotional and embrace great storytelling like visual transport, emotional appeals,some vulnerability and tons of passion.”Talks can take up to 1 minute = 1 hour of new prep at leastMake sure they are in town that day and several days beforeAnd what’s the one thing you’d want to convey, starting them to think on “which piece fromthe collection” would be best to present. Every idea has several paths/angles, but we’ll onlychoose one.
Manage the Milestones.Monday, February 28, 2011A great way to keep the speakers on task is to AT LEAST keep them on task as best aspossible with a general preparation plan. This will not work for everyone, so then consider ita vision - even if you can’t work the plan.
TEDxColumbus Speaker Milestones Expectation Email Acceptance Abstract One-on-One Story Meeting Deck RehearsalsMonday, February 28, 2011You have to treat this like a show production with deliverables and deadlines - and it is yourjob to hold them accountable. Here are a few of our important milestones.
Critique the story.Monday, February 28, 2011At the time that you have a meeting to discuss the actual story they will present, you canstart to help massage it with a few speciﬁc questions. Before I share those questions, here’sone overlay that can be a worthwhile exercise: ask yourself, does the story have a hero andvillain? I had one speaker whose “villain” was so weak and un-compelling, I predicted aboring talk. I realized it too late -- and he was perceived that way on the stage.
VILLAIN = PROBLEM HERO = IDEAMonday, February 28, 2011Remember, this isn’t about superman. Or even something that is a critical need. But that thespeaker can clearly compel through his/her story some sort of “conﬂict” if you will- that willhave a journey through their talk.
Tell me a story about a an idea...Monday, February 28, 2011 And here goes the ﬁve questions. I pay homage to Blake Snyder’s book, Save the Cat, forinspiring these. He uses them for screenwriting, I belive they are highly applicable to ourwork as TEDx organizers.
That I can relate to.Monday, February 28, 2011 Translation: Give the story context. If you are talking about a minute discovery (from aprimary researcher), force them to give a context as to why that discovery is important - sothat the audience can ﬁnd a connection to it.
That I can learn from.Monday, February 28, 2011Aren’t you always inspired more when you have learned something new?
That I can follow.Monday, February 28, 2011Translation: If you tell me you are going to climb to the top of the tree in the 18 minutes,don’t also take me through the woods and to the river...if I know where you are headed(especially since you told me the most important thing up front) then I can better follow yournarrative.
Makes me wantto root for you to win.Monday, February 28, 2011 Remember that hero? We want to root for him or her, right? We want them to WIN thatconﬂict. One of the ways to do this is to demonstrate when they were the bug, not just thewindshield. Have your speakers show vulnerability as to how they overcame obstacles (i.e.FAILED) to achieve their greatness, discovery, innovation...(This photo is of my son after a series of surgeries at his ﬁrst soccer season. See, didn’t youwant to root for him more after you heard that he’d overcome some major obstacles?)
Has stakes that are primal and ring true for me.Monday, February 28, 2011The reason that Brene Brown’s talk is so universally loved is that she’s dealing with somethingso core for us all - what it means to be wholehearted. She can ring true with everyone. Talksdon’t always achieve this but if they can, all the better.
Monday, February 28, 2011Thanks for listening today. May you remember something! :)
Ruth Milligan firstname.lastname@example.org www.articulationinc.com www.tedxcolumbus.comMonday, February 28, 2011