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What it means to talk like TED

posted Sep 24, 2015, 9:18 AM by TEDx Admin   [ 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 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 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.]