A Handy Guide to Being a Great TEDx Speaker

If you want to speak at TEDxIndianapolis 2014, you’ve got to have an awesome Big Idea. But it’s more than that. Here are the seven guiding principles to making a scintillating, unforgettable TEDx presentation.

1. Get familiar with the form. You have 5- to 10-minutes to give your presentation. That’s not a lot of time, and you need to make the most of every moment. You may even realize that you don’t need all of your time to give a great presentation. That’s perfectly fine—some of the best TEDx presentations have been five minutes.

2. Develop your idea. Take your own observations or evidence and draw a bigger conclusion. Challenge an accepted belief. Shine new light on an old idea. Make it surprising. Eye-opening. Impossible to ignore. You’ve got to be an expert on your topic—so make sure you use reliable sources, check your facts, and talk with other experts on the subject. And be sure that your idea is new, interesting, and factual.

3. Make an outline and script. An outline and script will help you stay on track during your presentation—although creating one isn’t an exact science. But there are some things that all good outlines have in common: They make the audience care about the topic, explain the idea clearly, cite reliable evidence, provide a call to action, and reveal a new reality. Make sure your outline and script communicate your Big Idea effectively—and don’t explain to the audience the structure of your presentation. Just do it!

4. Create slides. Your slides could be images, graphs, infographics, or simply text. Make sure you have just one key point per slide. Do not use bullet points. Keep your slides simple. Make sure they add to the presentation and clarify your points. Consider working with a designer if your slides involve copy. And make sure your slides are formatted correctly!

5. Rehearse. Give your talk in front of a mirror many times. Not once or twice. Then give the same presentation to a group of friends or family. If you can, give your presentation to people who intimidate you, or to a person who’s an expert on the topic you’re presenting on. Time your talk. Maintain good posture. It’s also a good idea to practice on a stage.

6. Give your talk. Breathe. Do it like you practiced. You’ll do great.

7. Savor the glory. Congratulations! You made it! Now bask in the praise and adulation. It went just how you envisioned.

Looking for more tips on how to make your TEDx presentation shine? Check out this useful infographic. And whether or not you’re giving a presentation, be sure to join us Tuesday, October 21 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre for all the exciting action!



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