TED talking

TED Talks have made speeches chic again. (Hallelujah!) Everyone who doesn’t dream of giving one dreams of writing one.

Yep, we’re all eager to climb on the internet-enabled soapbox. But what do we do once we get there?

Chris Anderson, Curator of TED, reminds us that it’s not about the platform; it’s about the content:

“Your number one mission as a speaker is to take something that matters deeply to you and rebuild it inside the minds of your listeners. The only thing that truly matters in public speaking is not confidence, stage presence or smooth talking. It’s having something worth saying.”

I love the idea that our words can “rebuild” an idea in our listeners’ minds. The image is specific, visual, and powerful. It’s a little intimidating too. And it should be, I think.

Words have consequences—well-crafted and well-delivered speeches may have even more power than written words. They build new structures in our brains, create neural pathways that weren’t there before. Will you fill those pathways with corporate jargon and techno-babble? Or with new ways to problem-solve, new insights and ideas to contemplate?

It’s not about giving a TED Talk. Wherever you speak, however you communicate: It’s about having something to say.

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