Ted talks are some of the best speeches/talks/chats in the world. For me its one of the greatest gifts of the internet. They issue these guidelines to speakers.
- Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick
- Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before
- Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion
- Thou Shalt Tell a Story
- Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy
- Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
- Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desparate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
- Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
- Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
- Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee
Commandments are taken from Tim Longhurst's blog.
This is wonderful advice in a strange style. The advice speaks about being fully yourself (be vulnerable and reveal your passions), be connected (not reading your speech) , to be relaxed (laughter is good, speak of your failures), to be conversational (freely comment on other spearks) It doesn't say this explicitly but being suitably humble is also there.
Its clear that one aspect about being a great Ted speaker is not about "delivering a great performance" - not putting on a presenter style of speaking. It's about being fully you, speaking with ease and connection, having the ability to think on your feet and to be spontaneous.
This you can explore by learning presence first.
Presence is the abilty to feel at ease with connection to your audience, the ability to trust that the words will emerge rather than anxiously memorising your scripts, the feeling that its absolutely fine for you to take your space in front of people without worrying whether you are being boring or being a burden. Presence is the feeling of quietness of mind and the ability to feel fully resourced rather than having a washing machine brain. One of the wonderful things about teaching presence is that I see people allow their passions out, see them actually enjoying being there in front of people. Now, I'm worried that this might sound like I'm selling my work - see I've already broken the seventh TED commandment. Apologies.