TEDx Preparation Tips: TEDxNormal Speakers Give Their Advice

Even with months or a year to prepare, gearing up for a TED talk can be difficult because of the format and the potential impact a motivational or inspirational talk can have. To help future speakers with their upcoming talk, whether being at a TEDx event or a different type of event, speakers from the first TEDxNormal answered the following question.


Q: What was most helpful to your success in preparation of your talk?

Liz Flores, “You Are Made for More”  

  1. Practicing my completed talk with a few close members of my tribe whose opinions I valued and respected.
  1. Re-defining my definition of success so that success was not: I nail the talk, everyone loves it, it goes viral. Success changed to I get up on stage, and talk.

Dr. Jeffrey Stamp, “What An Idea Needs to Survive

Event support. “No question here. A significant part of the success of a TEDx event is the efforts of the local organizer in holding an entire group of highly individualistic speakers accountable and on track. Doan Winkel was equal part task master, coach, accountability partner, and gracious host. His skill as both an organizer of the event and organizer of the human dynamic was amazing. TEDx is as much a showcase of amazing ideas as it is a showcase of organizational performance so utilize the local organizer, they will amplify your TEDx experience.”

Kali Lewis, “My Semester in the Future

Talking about it. I am most definitely an oral processor. I had numerous conversations about my topic, but probably about 10 hours’ worth of conversations about my outline with various coaches and friends. My Experience Institute classmates also helped me with my slides, so shout out to them for helping me look like a savvy presenter.

Elisabeth Cardiello, “The Most Powerful Question You Never Considered”  

Brad Boyer! He helped me tap into the story behind the words of my talk and also helped me realize what was fueling me to give and share in this way. He helped me understand things about myself that I didn’t before and in the process made me a better speaker and a better version of myself.

Michael Luchies, “The Importance of Being an Unselfish Storyteller

Other than the speech coach provided, who was amazing (Brad Boyer), getting a chance to perform on stage the day before the event was extremely helpful. I received great feedback from the other speakers, compliments that gave me more confidence, and a familiarity with the space and setup that made my actual performance less scary.

Lisa Bodell, “How Simplification is the Key to Change

Telling stories. People learn best through stories and remember them long after the talk is over. Forcing myself to tell MY stories was a great, transformative event.

Jeff Havens, “Why Aren’t More Of Us Engaged at Work?

My business partner and I went through three drafts of my talk before we finalized it, and then I had one conversation with a speaker coach who whittled it down even more.  Having a few people to help me edit and edit and then edit some more helped me end up with a product that I am very happy with.

Nicole Loftus, “How Something You Do Every Day Gets $2.5 Trillion to Entrepreneurs

I approached it like writing a book – started with outline of major objectives – and spent months distilling and crafting every word – all the while allowing it to evolve into something natural and not forced.

Watch all of the 2015 TEDxNormal Talks on YouTube


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