How to Really Prepare for a TEDx Talk

posted Oct 21, 2015, 9:10 AM by Kris Younger   [ updated Oct 21, 2015, 9:11 AM ]


Written by Suzanne Eder Leading-EdgeThinker

In less four weeks I’ll be standing onstage at The Queen, sharing my perspective on what I refer to as the dark side of self-improvement with 100 of the most sparkling minds in Wilmington – and then with countless other sparkling minds around the world via YouTube.  It’s truly an honor and a privilege to have been invited to participate.

And it’s just a teeny bit daunting.

I’ve been mesmerized by dozens of inspired – and inspiring - TED and TEDx talks. The speakers are passionate, intelligent, committed, funny and illuminating. They are also wonderfully, authentically themselves.  And that, ironically is often the most difficult attribute to radiate. The very act of speaking in public triggers in many of us a fear-induced impulse to fight, flee or freeze and then, knowing those responses aren’t particularly helpful, to paste over our fear with a forced and very rigid mask of calmness.

The effect is something less than authentic. It’s more along the lines of – well, forced and rigid.

Not exactly the effect I want to create, or the experience I want to have.

Any good speaking coach will tell you that thorough preparation and rehearsal – many, many rehearsals - are keys to delivering a powerful talk.  I’m all for being prepared, and in that spirit I’ve carefully read the materials the wonderful Wilmington TEDx organizers provided to their speakers, I’ve spoken in depth with my talented friend and colleague Mary Schaefer, who gave a brilliant TEDx talk last year (Putting the Human Back in Human Resources), and I’m reading the book she suggested (Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo). I’m also watching as many TED and TEDx videos as I can.

There’s a lot of information available about how to create and deliver an impactful talk. So much, in fact, that it’s easy to be seduced to that dark side of self-improvement that I’ll be talking about on October 28th (in what I hope will be a passionate, intelligent, committed, funny, illuminating and authentic way). Without giving away my whole talk, what I mean is that it’s easy to give my power away to the experts. It’s easy to get so tangled up in all of the guidelines and recommendations that “being myself” seems like an act. It’s easy to let the stories of how impactful TEDx talks have been, and how important they are, to fan the flames of my fear about ruining what is often referred to as the talk of one’s life.

So I’m pausing all of the research to make room for a different kind of preparation. I’m meditating to quiet my mind. I’m talking to myself in supportive, empowering ways. I’m looking back on successful talks I’ve given in the past and noting what worked well for me. I’m reminding myself that there is no such thing as “the” talk of my life; life can and will continue to bring countless opportunities to share the ideas I have that I believe are worth sharing. I’m recalling the many times I’ve been nervous about something only to experience it turning out just fine.  I’m taking time to imagine and visualize how wonderful it will feel to be on that stage, sharing ideas and energy with people who genuinely want to be there.

In other words, I’m finding ways to stay calm, centered and grounded, and to look for the joy in this experience rather than turning it into a test I will either pass or fail. I want to relish all of it, starting right now, not just the ten minutes I’ll be onstage.

And so I bring myself to the present moment, taking the step in front of me to take as peacefully as I can. I’m writing this post with an open heart and a willingness to let the TEDx experience surprise me.

Am I still nervous about it? You bet. Thankfully, Carmine Gallo assures me that most audiences expect TEDx speakers to be nervous. They’re empathetic and rooting for our success. The speakers’ nervousness is, delightfully, part of what radiates as authentic to the audience. So at least I’ve got that part down pat.

That, and a deep appreciation for the opportunity to share my ideas with you. And in this moment, no matter what the experts say, that is enough.

See you on the 28th.


What it means to talk like TED

posted Sep 24, 2015, 9:18 AM by Kris Younger   [ updated Sep 24, 2015, 9:39 AM ]


Written by Mary Schaefer, MHRM, SHRM-CP

TED = Technology, Entertainment, Design: "Ideas worth spreading."

It's been a bit over a year now since my TEDx experience. Now five of my friends, acquaintances and colleagues are speaking at the upcoming TEDx Wilmington (Delaware, USA) event, Oct. 28 -- the theme being Pioneering and Innovating. I'm delighted for them.

Backstory (via TED.com).

"TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world."

"TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event; the annual conference series began in 1990. TED's early emphasis was technology and design, consistent with its Silicon Valley origins, but it has since broadened its focus to include talks on many scientific, cultural, and academic topics." (Thanks Wikipedia.)

TED and TEDx: What's the difference?

From the TEDx Wilmington site: "In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At a TEDx 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."

Fun facts.

According to Carmine Gallo, author of Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds, there are 5-8 TEDx events EVERY DAY globally. That's a lot of ideas worth spreading. 

Online presentations have been viewed more than a billion times. Gallo reviewed 500 talks himself to come up with the 9 top tips to make a successful TED talk.

You want to give a TED talk? Start preparing now.

I found Carmine's book invaluable in gaining confidence for my talk. I had 4 weeks to prepare. Four weeks from getting notified to "the day of." Thank goodness my own coach had been preparing me for months for what she considered an eventuality. (If you think you have a TED talk in you, I recommend you start outlining NOW.)


I ended up spending my 4 weeks like this. I used the first 2 weeks writing a script that fit my 10-minute time period. The second 2 weeks I cut and cut brilliant points in order to incorporate comments and stories that came naturally to me. As my best friend reminded me, there's a reason it's called a TED talk and not a TED presentation.

It was exhilarating to finally make good on that preparation, and accomplish the life goal of telling the story of a topic that is close to my heart ("Putting the Human Back into Human Resources"). Giving a TED talk is often called "the talk of your life."

TEDx Wilmington 2015.

If you are local or near to Wilmington, Delaware, USA, I do hope you can come hear my friends and colleagues, Oct. 28. If you are not local, look for these talks on YouTube or the TED.com site in late November.

Suzanne Eder, Leading-Edge Thinker, speaking on "The Dark Side of Self Improvement." Suzanne Eder is a world-class teacher, facilitator and mentor. She helps people wake up to their magnificence and create lives they truly love.

Nick Gianoulis, Founder, The Fun Department, speaking on Fun as a competitive advantage. Nick is the founder of The Fun Dept., a consulting and training company that has been featured on CNN and in the Washington Post. Known as “The Godfather of Fun.”

Brooke Miles, Social Media Expert on The Magnificent Milk Myth … Debunked. Brooke, a former-dairy-fanatic-turned-vegan, is a humorous writer and a sought-after, award-winning speaker. By day, she runs her own social media consultation firm, Delaware ShoutOut (@DEShoutOut).

Annie NormanState Librarian, speaking on Libraries and the American Dream. Dr. Norman is the recipient of the Audrey K. Doberstein Award for Leadership for her dissertation entitled, Librarians’ Leadership for Lifelong Learning.

Greg Plum, Principal, Plum Unified Communications, speaking on Get Your Head in the Cloud – Make Technology Work for You. Plum has been involved in channel development since 2001 and has enjoyed building channel sales operations from scratch. He currently serves as the principal of Plum Unified Communications, a faculty member of CompTIA, and a Microsoft training specialist for Brainstorm, Inc. 

I expect the best from these professionals, thought leaders and all of the other speakers, and that we will indeed find their ideas worth spreading.

P.S. Thank you to Ajit George for organizing the 5 TEDx Wilmington events.

[TEDx photos by Joe del Tufo.]


Why I am Thrilled to be the Moderator of the TEDxWilmingtonSalon “Second Chances”

posted Jul 9, 2015, 12:16 PM by Kris Younger   [ updated Sep 24, 2015, 9:22 AM ]


Written by Dr. Sarah E. Brown


"The moral out of my life is don’t quit at age 65.  Maybe your boat hasn’t come in yet.  Mine hadn’t.”  Colonel Harland Sanders.


Colonel Sanders was 65 years old with only a $105 monthly pension check when he began in earnest to sell his chicken recipe to restaurants in exchange for a small fee for every piece of chicken sold.  It took him 12 years, but he did make a go of it and sold his franchise business for $2M in 1964.   Colonel Sanders is embodiment of the adage that it is never too late to live your dreams.


I have always been a late bloomer.  While my life has not been quite as challenging as Colonel Sanders, I have reached milestones later than many:


  1. I married for the first time at age 40.

  2. I finished my graduate degree at age 41.

  3. I joined Accenture where my career really took off at age 43.

  4. I formed my first company, Know Thyself Guides® at age 60.


I have learned about myself along the way, but much of it I learned in my 50s.  That is one of the deciding reasons I created Know Thyself Guides®  (www.knowthyselfguides.com) to help others understand (hopefully earlier in life than I) who they are and the dreams they can create as a result.  I am particularly blessed that I live in the USA, a country that affords late bloomers like me and Colonel Sanders the second chances we need to pursue those dreams.


Last week I was asked to be the Moderator of the July 31 TEDxWilmingtonSalon “Second Chances.” (www.TEDxWilmginton.com). I would have been thrilled to just be part of this historic event inside Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution.  Now I get the added privilege of introducing some amazing speakers, including 4 inmates and my hero, Dr. Dan Gottlieb of WHYY’s Voices in the Family, talk about the second chances in their own lives.


We are going to hear many amazing stories about how individuals have learned about what is unique to them and are pursuing dreams that will make the world a better place for all.  Many of them have come to this understanding through heartache and adversity but are using their experiences as opportunities for creating good in the world and good for themselves.
I had a “taste” of what these stories might be when I attended “Breaking Bread Behind Bars,” an extraordinary dinner at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution. The dinner was a part of the MidAtlantic Wine and Food Festival (MAWFF), www.mawff.org. The residents (aka prisoners) who prepared our meal and with whom we dined were in the culinary program. They were taking full advantage of the “opportunity” provided to them during their prison experience to learn about food arts. They were following their passions and planning to create new lives for themselves when they left prison. We heard stories about these dreams and how these women were overcoming fears, substance abuse, and self-esteem issues to pursue their passions. They were turning hardship into opportunity.



Senator Chris Coons spoke at this dinner and reminded us all that ours is a nation of Second Chances.  I am blessed that I live in a country that encourages these second chances.  I am blessed that I can learn from the experiences of others who have taken full advantage of this.  I know that as we hear the stories of inspiration and hope on July 31 we will all come away convinced that it is never too late to live our dreams.  If they can do it, we can, too.





Blast From the TEDxWilmington Past!

posted Jun 16, 2014, 8:49 AM by Kris Younger   [ updated Jul 9, 2015, 12:17 PM ]

In honor of the quickly-approaching 2014 TEDxWilmington, We decided to recap one of our favorite moments from last year's event.

Remember Steve Boyden's awe-inspiring talk, It's Not About the Honey: Adventures of an Accidental Beekeeper?




We love Boyden's beautiful, original pictures, and we loved the way he creatively brought to light a hot topic.


Here's a fun fact from his talk: Did you know that the taste of honey varies depending on the region its from?





TEDxWilmington Meets 2014

posted Jun 12, 2014, 11:58 AM by Kris Younger   [ updated Sep 24, 2015, 9:22 AM ]


TEDxWilmington is returning for its third annual event on Wednesday, August 6, 2014. The full-day event will be held at the historic World Cafe Live at The Queen in Downtown Wilmington. 


The TEDxWilmington team is excited to announce that this year’s moderator will be Liane Hansen, journalist and former NPR radio host. After giving an inspiring talk last year, "Confessions of a Function Depressive," she was enthusiastically invited back to moderate this year’s event. To find out more about Liane, visit her bio here.  


You can also visit our 2014 page to see an updated list of speakers for this year's TEDxWilmington!


To learn more about TEDxWilmington, click here.



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