Speaking Tips: What I Learned From My First TEDx-Style Talk

I recently had the opportunity to give a TEDx-style talk at the Thriving Firms Symposium.  While I have done my fair share of speaking, this was an especially tough challenge. Why? I was limited to 17 minutes and I needed to inspire and motivate the audience around a single core topic.  For anyone that has met me, 17 minutes on any topic is tough. In preparing for this presentation, I learned a few things that will no doubt make your next presentation or speaking engagement better.


Go deep, not wide. The TEDx-style talk forces you to focus on what you are going to say. Whether you have five minutes or 17 minutes, you are forced to focus on one key message. This is the only way to deliver a compelling messaging. Those people at TED are geniuses! If we all focused our presentations on only one or two key points, without question, it would allow us to communicate more effectively.


Use storytelling. While this isn’t a new concept, it is widely used in the TEDx-style of presenting. Stories engage the audience; however, too often we end up lecturing. Incorporating stories helps to educate your audience in ways that lecturing just can’t conquer.


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You don’t always need PowerPoint.  I repeat, you don’t always need PowerPoint. Yes, the audience might like it – and you might feel more comfortable with it – but if you really know the topic, you often don’t need it. PowerPoint can be a crutch. While there certainly is the occasional time and place where visuals can aid in demonstrating your message, be very selective about when and where to include them. If visuals don’t add value, then don’t go that route.


Speaking is an art that can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It requires time to master – and dedicated practice. Employing some of these pointers takes time, but you’ll find these tips will ultimately provide your delivery with an exciting and impactful upgrade.


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2 Responses to “Speaking Tips: What I Learned From My First TEDx-Style Talk”

  1. Anne

    Great tips! I hope to attend the Thriving Firms Symposium sometime.

  2. Barry MacQuarrie

    Great information! Thanks for sharing your experience.


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