Tips from a TED Talk Coach on how to connect with your audience in those important 18 minutes

Julie Bernstein held the ceramic mug high above her head. Then she let go of her grip. The cup slid silently down until it lightly hit the edge of a small concrete floor by her feet.

They could hear a faint “clack” and the cup popped up an inch or two from the base and landed. It lay there, resting on its side, on the iconic red carpet of a TED talk stage. It didn’t break.

The problem was that it was supposed to break.

Julie is an acclaimed American radio producer. She has won a coveted US Peabody Award. She is also the author of the bestseller Spark: How creativity works. It was the success of her book that prompted the folks at TED Talk, the “ideas worth spreading” in 18 Minutes or Less, to invite her to speak on the big stage in California in 2012. big stage. Big audience. Really big emotions. Because up to this point, Julie had always been behind the scenes.

“I was always on stage to showcase the talent and then I had to hold on to the podium to keep from shaking,” she told me.

But Julie accepted the invitation and spoke on this big stage.

She also told me that looking back, “it was a fantastic experience, although something went radically wrong. After that, one of the other speakers came up to me and said, ‘You know that moment when things didn’t go the way you planned, that was the moment when the audience totally went along with you.’ I think that’s true. People often feel connected to us when something goes wrong.”

A year later, Julie was asked to produce a local TEDx event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

“I coached all the speakers and it was a pleasure getting to know them and helping them write their stories.”

Since then, Julie has continued to explore creativity, produce radio, and coach TED speakers.

In fact, I was fortunate that she coached me for the TEDx talk I gave last month. Lucky for you all, Julie was kind enough to share her coaching tips with us today. Mind you, the tips apply not only to a TED talk, but to any type of presentation that is intended to inspire and motivate. And that, dear readers, pretty much covers everything.

Let us begin.

How to structure your speech

“TED is personal story, bigger picture, personal story, end,” Julie explained.

“You can play in it, which is really fun.

“You see, when you give a talk like this, you invoke your audience. It’s like an enchantment. How do you enchant your audience? What should happen in these 18 minutes so that they are focused? to you of you? What’s the great story you want them to take away at the end? Thinking about these things will help you learn what to keep and what to prune. You’re not telling fairy tales up there, but you’re creating a feeling and that’s great.”

How to deliver your speech

“It’s so personal,” Julie said.

“But for some people, practicing is one of the best things. The best advice I can think of comes from a brilliant radio host I’ve worked with. One time when I was getting really nervous about going on the air, he said, ‘Julie, no one else knows what you’re going to say, just mumble with distinction and they don’t care!'”

I laughed at that memory from Julie, but the story makes a big point.

It’s important to have the words, but it’s also important to have the tone.

Julie continued, “The most important thing is how we connect with the audience and how we ground ourselves beforehand. Ask yourself, “What makes me happy, that puts me in a good mood, doing this?” And remember, those nerves are actually useful. They give us energy.”

As you ponder your enchanting story and the energetic tone you’ll bring to your next presentation, let me also bring us back to Julie’s mug.

Why did she even want it to break? Because one story in her presentation revolved around the type of cups, bowls and vases she liked to make, called Raku.

Raku is a type of pottery known for its distinctive texture of crackling weave on its surface, which emerges when dramatically heated and then abruptly cooled.

“Raku,” Julie told the audience, “is a wonderful metaphor for the process of creativity.”

Each experience creates a unique design. And when describing the clay vessels in her TED Talk, she said, “It’s the imperfections that people appreciate.”

It’s also a wonderful metaphor for each of us. We are made of our experiences. We are imperfect. Our stories of disappointments alongside our victories and successes are what connects us best to our imperfect fellow human beings.

So Julie’s plan was to break the cup and discuss what we can learn from breaking it. But a recent viewer on the YouTube channel hosting Julie’s TED Talk took a different view of the unbreakable moment, commenting, “When you’re scared to let go and finally gather the courage to do it, but to your wonderful surprise… don’t break.”

Share your perfectly imperfect story. you won’t break Like Julie, the experience will make you stronger. Tips from a TED Talk Coach on how to connect with your audience in those important 18 minutes

Fry Electronics Team

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