Things I learned from giving a TEDx Talk

Nassos Kappa - TEDx

I recently gave a talk at a TEDx event. I still remember the first text message that initiated everything. Then the official invitation a few months later and all the steps I went through to give the speech. But, I remember nothingfrom the 18 minutes I was on stage.

Well, I am a fan of the TED platform, I have watched quite a lot Talks and I was pretty excited by this invitation. Actually, as Will Stephen perfectly described it on his awesome in every word TEDx Talk,

(…) you know what? I was offered a TED Talk. And damn it, I’m gonna see it through.

So, without much free time I dived into an intense process of preparing something interesting and hopefully valuable.

My talk title was “Design Living. A series of short stories”. The main goal was to present how design and, in broader terms, creativity is not something that only a few people can do but something that everyone can use (as a compass) to do anything, from solving problems to create things.

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It was well received and I’ll be happy if it will prove helpful for at least one person out there.

The video will soon be available to watch, but I also wanted to share with you few personal notes from this amazing experience I had.

It’s not (only) about you.

You can talk about yourself or someone else, you can do a self-interview or interview another person, you can talk about experiences, ideas, work, awards or even your puppy.

At the very end, all of the above are just a means to tell a story that has to end up in a single solid point. That’s the value of your speech.

Deliver the value.

Sure enough, pretty slides and videos are always helpful and they can boost your speech turning it into a very memorable story for your audience.

Being supported by visuals, though, is not a must. You can go without any visuals since your story is solid and you can deliver it and, please, if they are not good or relevant, better not use them.

Also, you never know what might happen. You may end up with bad projector, no monitor for presenter’s notes, no microphone, no lights, or no coffee. Prepare as if you’ll be talking in an empty dark room.

Public speaking needs preparation.

I’m giving lots of presentations as part of my job, i.e. to clients or in various design conferences and workshops but every time, just before I start, my stomach goes crazy and I feel nauseous.

There only one thing you can do. Practice, get feedback, repeat. There is no such thing as over-rehearsing.

Be yourself.

I know, right? Easy to say, hard as hell to do. You don’t have to be any of those speakers you’ve seen before on a TED talk or like Steve Jobs presenting the first iPhone. You were invited because you are you.

Be that person and have fun!

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Update: the video is now available on YouTube