Karla Boza

Sociology Student, Manhattanville College

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What are the top three characteristics a TEDtalk must fulfill to catch your attention?

We all have our favorite speakers; some of us like humor, others like to be filled with facts, sometimes we just want someone's talk to restore our faith in humanity.

So what are the top three aspects a speaker should fulfill in order to become a successful TED speaker?

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    May 5 2012: There are many ways to attract people, but it would be stronger if based on:

    1. Explain something by adjusting the level of understanding (if needed, to be understood completely and quickly, we can add the parable)
    2. Explain something with a sincere heart, not just explaining with excitement, but explain something with calm or excitement with intense sincerity (honest sincerity, not just look like sincere)
    3. The topic is related to basic needs (to explain the degree of the necessity)

    Hopefully this makes explaining (not only) more interesting to be known and easy to understand, also embedded in the hearts and hopefully over time can be a reminder in the future (as i ever heard before ...) or even drive towards goodness.

    Less or more ...
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    May 3 2012: Good one Karla,

    1) Problem
    2) Possible solutions
    3) Passion to initiate a TED conversations

    Regards,
    Bharath
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      May 3 2012: Which has been your favorite TED talk?
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        May 3 2012: No favorites as such watched 6 so far liked all of them

        Best Regards,
        Bharath
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          May 3 2012: Hope you find a good one! There are many out there.
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    May 2 2012: Natural flow. Ironically that only comes as the result of repetitive practice and rehearsing. :-p
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      May 3 2012: I think it can come from practicing public speech, but necessarily rehearsing the specific speech you will deliver that day (not sure if this makes sense). I think that when you over practice for a specific speech it will not come natural.
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        May 3 2012: when you want to be effective,practising is the predominant task that we need to work on!!
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          May 3 2012: How much practice would you recommend?
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        May 3 2012: The more you try it, the better you get at it. That does not mean renouncing to improvisation and doing whatever you feel natural. But the more you practice, the more at ease you will be and the more likely you are not to leave important facts out.

        Rehearsing, both anywhere and at the same venue where the talk is to be delivered adds confidence and brings ease to the delivery of the talk.

        In particular, hearing yourself (and letting others hear yourself) and identify where your message or talk is weak and what sounds right or not and thinking if there are better ways of saying or conveying something.

        I recently made a similar comment on a similar thread:
        What guidelines would you give someone preparing a TEDx talk?
        ( http://www.ted.com/conversations/10670/what_guidelines_would_you_give.html )
        I will paste below as I think it amplifies my point here...

        "Tell a story. Complete with an arch in the story line. Keep it simple. Watch Ridley Scott's Prometheus video and study its structure. That's what I did for my last 2 talks in TEDxSilkRoad and TEDxUChicago and the audiences enjoyed it (ppt at http://www.relief20.com/tedx ).

        Be creative, different, and then maintain a good flow and rhythm. Use anecdotes, stories and images the audience can relate to. That's what I did for my TEDxTokyo talk ( http://tedxtokyo.com/tedxtokyo-2011/program/carlos-miranda-levy/ ).

        Most important, be confident and practice, rehearse, monitor your talk, people's reaction to it, and your own opinion. Practice is the key to a good talk. Do you want to stand there and talk or do you want people to be moved by your words and stories?"
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          May 3 2012: Amazing reply!
          I agree with that you need to practice, but I still believe that when you over do it you talk begins to sound unnatural and might become boring.
          I think that being different is what makes the talk stand out. I have seen to many that are just a bunch of ideas put together, but they are not spoken correctly. I personally enjoy when the speaker incorporates a little humor or just makes something different about their speech.
        • May 3 2012: @Carlos,

          I just wanted to let you know I enjoyed your comment and wonderful tips for improving our speech making skills. All are very useful

          And, thank you for the links.

          I enjoyed reading about the Data Veil, and the Silk Road Ensemble as a result...Great ideas!!
        • May 4 2012: @Carlos,

          Great second explanation.......I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I can tell from your insights, that you are a fluent and natural speaker.......

          If you really want to see everything we have talked about here in action, and see someone who has mastered the act of speaking, watch this TED talk:

          http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html

          * * NOTICE the following........his fluency, naturalness, eye contact with audience, physical contact with audience, where he stands, and finally, and more significantly, his very last words, which any effective teacher or speaker will tell you is the key to finding out if you have succeeded with your talk.

          ENJOY!!!!
      • May 3 2012: Hi Karla, interesting points you make about practice.

        Let me just add a tid-bit of info for you...this might help you, it might not.

        In speech, there is a difference between fluency, and naturalness.

        Fluency: reading and speaking in such a manner that your words and thoughts flow smoothly. When delivery is fluent, speech is not jerky or painfully slow, and there is no stumbling over words or groping for thoughts.

        Naturalness: When you are being yourself, conversational, sincere, unaffected.

        BOTH are important in speech making.

        ** When a speaker lacks fluency, the minds of the listeners may wander; wrong ideas may be conveyed. What is said may lack persuasiveness.

        ** If you are nervous, stiff, or ackward in your speech because of being self-conscious, others may be distracted from what you say.

        Practice helps.....but the key to practice, is not memorizing words......for the sake of practice, it is better just to make certain that the idea is clear in your mind, and then to think of the words as you go. Too much emphasis on memorizing words could spell chaos.
        Carlos did a great job of giving you some very useful information in his last comment to you.

        I think we can all agree that most TED speakers have mastered the art of making presentations. I know I am thankful for that.

        The three characteristics I look for are:

        1. Enthusiasm
        2. Idea that I can quickly apply to self and spread
        3. It must lift my spirit....make me a better person.....move me to change

        Great question Karla!
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          May 3 2012: Mary M. did a great job of clarifying my and the point of others here.

          I love how clear she puts it: fluency and naturalness.

          A good speaker often relies on probing the audience, integrating them and carefully monitoring their responses. One of the challenges of TED and TEDx talks is that there is no interaction or Q&A with the audience.

          The attention is always on the speaker and it's up to the speaker to maintain the flow of the talk.

          Improvisation and spontaneity are an important part of a good talk in particular one where you connect with the audience.

          What we are talking about here is not "staging" the talk, but rehearsing it so that you have tested different ways of saying the same thing, until you are comfortable on how it sounds, the terms you're using and don't fumble with alternatives for expressing a concept you completely have a grasp on.

          There are infinite ways of saying something, ones better than others, and the more we practice and try alternatives, the better choices we have to sound secure, natural and to maintain our flow.

          In addition, if you do your talk without any script at all, often you will realize after you're done that you forgot to mention this or that, to include this example or to make a point about something. When you try again, then you remember to include it. Then you try again and find a better moment to mention it, etc., without losing your fluency and naturalness.

          Notice how my slides (most of them) only include a heading or a sentence. I improvise and use the words that come to mind to explain each sentence, carefully adapting this explanation and the details to the audience in front of me and the response I sense from them.
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    May 6 2012: It's always better not have expectations, or at least to make a conscious effort to try to suppress expectations; I don't recall the name of the speaker, but there was actually a TEDtalk on lowered expectations, and how they can lead to increased happiness in the individual.
    • May 6 2012: Eduardo.....so you listen to every single talk?

      You are not turned off by any speaker? or their subject matter? or their speaking style?

      They are all the same to you?

      I'm just curious.
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        May 6 2012: All I was saying is that my mindset is generally more open, I don't like having a set criterion to use as an anchor--i.e. if the speaker, or the presentation, does not meet x, y, z, then I am displeased etc.
        • May 6 2012: I understand you now. I guess the way she poses the question..."MUST fulfill".......you took the word MUST and answered according to that one word.

          However, from reading all the replies thus far, you can see that there is more to her question than meets the eye don't you?

          So, can you answer her last question?

          There she used the word "SHOULD".....instead of "MUST"........what do you think?
  • May 6 2012: I think Character, Achievement and Vision. These three characteristics seems to be closely correlated with each other.

    Achievement makes excellent character.
    The opposite seems to be true.
    Good character attracts people and could gain cooperation from partners. It may trigger remarkable achievement.

    Important achievement tends to be the results of clear vision.
    Excellent vision is likely to be made by leader who have good character.
    And such vision aroused sympathy from people.

    Successful speaker seems to have these three characteristic.
  • May 5 2012: most important thing is that exprience about give a talk to people
    because this fact give self-confidence to speakers.(my aim is improve my english because ı reply)is there anybody want to talk with me ı can talk with my pleasure
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    May 3 2012: First and foremost they have to be brief

    Second, their performance can not imply what or how the audience should feel (be it cry, laugh, anger etc.) = common mistake in Steven Spilberg movies (cheap emotions).

    Third, the speaker should radiate :D
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    May 3 2012: 1. show up on a friend's facebook wall
    2. catchy and relevant title
    3. charismatic speaker
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    May 3 2012: Actually to be very frank , I love the amount of info I find here and all of them interest me . So I too am planning to give a TED seminar very soon. :)
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    May 3 2012: What are the top three aspects a speaker should fulfill in order to become a successful TED speaker?

    1) Thought provoking CONTENT
    2) Solution making man more HUMAN
    3) It should so resonate with the audience, that it inspires ACTION

    If the content stimulates my brain and pushes me to take some Action, then all is achieved. That is all we need today.

    We need great thought leaders, to put the world into Action. And correct the flow towards humanity.
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    May 1 2012: 1) Edifying
    2) Thought provoking
    3) Passionate
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      May 3 2012: What would you consider thought provoking?
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        May 3 2012: Tne implied word in this phrase is "new". Give reason to think about something not previously considered or known.
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          May 3 2012: Good one, I think that by watching so many talks you become accustomed and set a lever which is high already, when anyone passes this level then you become enlightened and begin to think.
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        May 3 2012: I agree the bar is set pretty high at TED, certainly higher than the average here in the USA. For the price of a seat the talks had better be above average! What a gift to be able to access the talks online! TED is a force for good in this battered old world.
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    Apr 30 2012: The three aspects that we at Eden Concepts are looking for are the potential to inspire our creativity, a topic that is kindred to our passions, and a topic that can innovate our purpose and vision.
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      May 3 2012: What TEDtalks have fulfilled these expectations?
      Also, might you mind sharing what Eden Concepts is?
  • Apr 30 2012: a talk that addresses my passion play - addressing the problem of kids, teens mostly, making bad choices that will forever impact their lives. There is not enough conversation about how kids are so self sabotaging, and societal pressures are making this even more acute. The problem can be addressed seemlessly through programs in public education, among many other ways.
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      May 3 2012: Why do you think teens are self sabotaging?
      Have you found any TEDtalks that address the problems of children and teens?
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    Apr 30 2012: Non-Fictional,Inspiring,Motivational!!!
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      May 3 2012: What inspires you?
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        May 3 2012: something which is emotional and which tickles my mind that i have to do something of this sort or practise it in my daily life practices!!
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          May 3 2012: Sounds good!
          There are so many TEDtalks like this that make it desirable to do something about an issue.