It’s no flash of good luck that TED talks are so successful. Having just enjoyed a wonderful TEDx Sydney recently I'm compelled to reflect on why we're hooked on TED.
The format is deliberately thoughtful. They mix up the inspirational with the emotional and the very clever...and just when our brains are fatiguing, they're woken up with beautiful music and visual performances.
Chris Anderson, TED Global's curator says the short time frame is key. Long enough to be serious and short enough to hold audience attention. Event planners - why do we still put speakers on for an hour or more?
I love that TED speakers are real, and encouraged to be just that. Professor Elanor Huntington spoke at the Sydney conference. Super smart Dean of Australian National University I'm guessing she's used to a different kind of audience, one she uses different language with, seeing as she's an engineer with quantum cybernetics as one of her main areas of research. And I suspect that public speaking of any kind is not her favourite thing to do. But I loved her talk. She was clearly passionate about her topic and now her thoughts are embedded clearly in my head.
David Hunt the satirist, author and historian has the gift of being naturally hilarious, lucky sod. Sarah Houbolt challenged us to question what we naturally see in an almost theatrical manner, entirely in keeping with her work as a circus performer.
TED speakers and most TEDX speakers, have coaches. Experienced people who can offer advice and help to make their talks engaging and interesting. But what you’ll notice is that nobody is so polished that they lose the very essence of who they are. At the Sydney conference, none of their coaches had tried to turn the speakers into anything they're not. Last week several used palm notes, and I noticed there was no auto cue, which immediately makes for very real talks.
This is what we want. TED speakers are real. Loud, calm, funny, clever, soft, boisterous, serious, excitable, nervous. Each talk unwraps an idea that is transmitted from their brain to ours and has the ability to change the way we think, the way we feel, what we believe and the actions we choose to take.
Compelling content delivered with authenticity. Ah - this is the stuff that makes me happy. How much we can learn! And how lucky are we to have access to hundreds of these talks, for nothing. Simply to enrich our lives and shift our worldview.
Thank you, TED.
Lynne Schinella is a conference speaker, speaker coach, and author of Bite Me! and other do's and don'ts of dealing with our differences.
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