This is a guest post from TEDxAdelaide 2015 speaker Dr Huu Kim Le. Pictured: Dr Le on the 2015 TEDxAdelaide stage
Do you have an interesting story or an idea worth spreading?
Every TED Talk starts with an “idea worth spreading”. Do you have experience or knowledge other people do not have? Is there a message you want the whole world to know? Do you have an interesting story that would make people remember your message? If so, you might have a TED Talk on your hands.
1. Immerse yourself and you will find inspiration
By now, you might be familiar with my idea of #immerseyourself to achieve your dream. When I was overseas, I downloaded TED Radio podcasts and listened to all the most popular TED talks during my daily commute. I also downloaded TED videos and watched them with English subtitles to get a more in depth understanding on how their message was constructed. By immersing myself, I one day realised, “Hey! I have a passion, a story and an important message to spread. Maybe I should do a TED talk one day too!”
2. Listen to “Road to TED” Podcast
When I exhausted all the TED Talks I could find, I discovered the next best thing: the “Road to TED” Podcast. This podcast really helped me to realise that there is a blueprint to TED. Once I realised this blueprint can be followed by anyone, it really gave me the belief in myself that I could do this too. There are many great pieces of advice from past speakers and the radio show hosts Mike Brooks and Dino Dogan really know how to dissect what made the TED speaker successful.
3. Join a Toastmaster’s club
Public speaking is an essential skill for anyone in any field. Toastmaster’s International has been around for over 100 years helping people develop their public speaking skills. I would highly recommend anyone join his or her local club. To be a guest is free and you should visit a few to find the right one for you. By learning in a safe environment, with like-minded people you will build the confidence to one day apply for TED.
4. Hire professionals to help you spread your message
The key ingredients to spreading your message are:
1/ a professional website
2/ a professionally made video
A website was important for me to develop and formulate my ideas. It was here that I realised how important my message was because I was getting a lot of traffic for certain posts. Make sure you have a statistics function that tracks visitors to your site. I then recorded one of my talks professionally (in my living room!) and put this on Youtube and my website. This was almost like my TED audition video and this is what eventually got me the gig.
5. Speak, speak and speak!
“Practice makes permanent” and public speaking is something that never came naturally to me. I remember in highschool, standing in front of my English class to talk about a book I had read. I didn’t prepare at all and you know what happened? I totally bombed out. It was embarrassing. From that day, I knew that I had to be prepared whenever I did a presentation. Prior to TEDx, I said yes to every opportunity to speak and practiced my craft. I even changed my style of presenting to be more “TED-like”. So when I finally got the invitation to speak (even though I only had 3 weeks notice), I was prepared.
To give a TED talk, you need to apply. Just go to their website and nominate yourself here. This is the hardest way to get on TED (as you go on a centralized database). The other way you can spread your message is to look up local TEDx events which are independently organised. You will need to nominate yourself. I remember applying to TED.com then TEDx Singapore, Sydney and then finally Adelaide. The other way to get on stage is to know a previous TED talker to refer you to the TED organisers (this I also learnt from RTT).
- Buy a clicker, I would recommend the Logitech R400. It is super comfortable and commonly used. On the day of the TEDx Adelaide I was literally having a panic attack and when the stage manager handed me the R400 I knew it was a sign to get into action as I had practiced with this in my hand at least 50 times before hand.
- Make the TED stage your “calling” by revealing it to the universe. Four months before I went on the TEDxAdelaide stage I announced to my friends and colleagues on Facebook that it would eventually be my calling and then it became true. It sounds cliché but you really do have to believe in something first before it becomes true.
Watch Kim’s 2015 TEDxAdelaide talk on The Spell of Digital Immersion
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