How to give any speech like a TED Talk : Secrets of Drafting a Perfect Talk, I learnt after hosting 100+ speakers — (DPP) Draft, Pitch & Perform

In these 4 years, I have hosted numerous talk shows, conducted various campaigns from small to big, from elections to startup expos and Yes! I have also curated, coordinated and conducted various TED/TEDx talks events.

See, there are already thousands and thousands of articles on “Public Speaking” / “How to give a TED/TEDx Talk?”. I’ll not waste the cloud space by just quoting the same in yet a different way. I’ll not waste the time for just the sake of writing a long long article, generating some engagement matrices.

These are straight secrets, facts and wisdom of experience. Read, Record and Implement! (Minimalistic)

Before starting, I want to clear out the intention. The intention of this article is not to make you aware of English Jargons, shitty public speaking funnels and in no way I assure you, that if you follow these steps you will get a decent public speaking opportunity, straightaway. Your Ideas, the way of Presentation and YOU yourself still matters the most. But, I assure you one thing. This is 100 % a crisp and neat short-hand guide to make yourself sure that you are on the right track, add the critical flairs that you might be missing and give you perspectives from a host/organizer’s point of view. I have named this strategy or “mantra” as “DPP” — Draft, Pitch & Perform, a journey for getting done with your first major public speaking assignment. So, here I decode:

Draft: Let’s break the myths first! Content is the king’ —well this cliche does not hold here. I have come across thousands of drafts, and of those, I have not read even half. That’s brutal. That’s rude. But, it is the Truth. I promised to be straight, I will be. Everbody has a limited time. Organizer’s are not some reading machines, they are humans. You need to get them hooked. Here are, 5 modern rules of drafting:

  1. Get an idea about the theme of the event. Where is it focussed? Research on the previous speakers? What kind of speakers, does this platform features?

2. If you don’t get a clear idea, give a call to the organization and enquire. Nobody Judge you on that basis. Your target should be to get an idea, what kind of speakers they are looking for? Someone to entertain? or Someone to give a warm start? And where do you fit in?

3. Now, you know where they can see you in their line-up. Start munching on ideas according to that. “Develop a central idea”.

4. Convey the central idea. Please make sure you reach out to someone from the curation team. An organizer might be busy, he might forget, he is multi-tasking, he is human. You can even go ahead and humbly ask the organiser (if you are in touch with him somehow) if you should speak to someone else. Yes! That’s a secret. Implement it, I assure you your chances will increase manifold.

5. After you have streamlined the central idea, add examples, integrate facts, make it engaging, relevant as per the current scenario and build a story. Make sure, every step you take and any line you add should strengthen your Central Idea. This is usually the first step that people take and see that’s why it doesn’t work most of the time.

Understand, nobody cares that much about your story. After-all, It’s YOUR story. You need to fit, your story in their story. So, not content but context matters here the most.

Pitch: Successful drafting nowadays involves a bit of pitching as I told you above because organisers these days highly customise their programmes as per the needs of their audiences. But, this is where the all-action begins. This is where short-listing is done. They have liked your idea, now they are making a line-up.

I will give you not pointers here but will tell you a story, how even the simplest idea can make through. Back in 2017, I was making a lineup for a local TEDx event. A young guy “Himanshu” in his thirteen, approached us. He shared his idea very passionately with the team, sent his draft which was decent and genuine, so he was in our wait-list. Our lineup was almost finalised and we didn’t consider Himanshu for the current season. He then calls up and very humbly asks for listening to him once. He then shared us with the developments that his simple mission has made, what are his targets ahead and most importantly, if he gets the stage, what this will mean to him or to his mission. We finalised him in a day and he did give a stellar performance.

So, what is the take-away? Pitching doesn’t mean you need to convince the organizer about your idea/delivery but it’s about conveying what this opportunity means to you and to your mission. Every organiser wants to do something out of the box plus deliver the value and this is a direct hit. They also make them believe that you will give your full to deliver the best. Which is the next stage of DPP.

Perform: Now, you have got the opportunity. You need to make most out of it. It’s now you and the story. How to fine-tune? How to give a thought-provoking performance? An idea that people can take away!

You have to crack the order that’s it. Writing a draft is one thing delivering it in a fashion is another. I’ll go straight and give you an order that works the most. You can design your own, it’s art. Try to get the frame:

  1. Hook in first 15 secs: Begin with a question, a fact or something weird or something intriguing.
  2. Next 30 secs — add on to that curiosity, build it till they feel it’s a big problem or their problem. Why your topic is important?

3. Support it with an argument — how big it is. Give it the depth. Now, bring those intellectual people in, who feel like they already know about the topic. Be super specific here.

4. Give it aspects: Implications of the problem/solution/idea. Types. What other solutions exist and how is your different.

5. Mantra Time — Now, its the time. Give your mantra straight. Don’t let them wait for more. Explain it with the most awesome example in the world. Yes! I’m revealing another secret here. It’s not the idea/mantra but the supporting example which will win you hearts of the people. Go ahead, watch any recent successful talks. Observe the pattern for yourself.

6. Connect, Connect, Connect — connect with what you spoke off in the first 2 mins. People feel complete and satisfied. Should I tell you more about patterns in the world? Yes! Every damn thing is in a cyclic process.

7. Give an ending quote/mantra

8. Then end — with a question/answer which should be the “title of your talk”

That’s it. Nothing left. Don’t go through articles. STOP munching more. Don’t suck up. Go ahead, implement and experiment. My Last Words.

Since, I love poetries and shayaris, Will love to end with one :)

Konsi baat kahaan, Kaise kahi jaati hai
Ye salika ho, toh har baat suni jaati hai
~ Waseem Barelvi, Renowned Urdu Poet

Translation: It’s never the idea, but it’s how it is delivered.

Have something to add? An example/anecdote to share? Any queries? Write to me, D.M me here or write to me at utkarshgarg13@gmail.com.

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