TEDx is a micro community that organises a TED-style event celebrating locally-driven ideas. TED has been around since 1984 and began as a conference for Technology, Entertainment and Design. Today, the non-profit global organisation covers almost all topics in more than 100 languages in short powerful talks.
I was part of the communications team for TEDxBrixton and this included researching, writing and editing all blog content- as well as developing an online content strategy for the entire social media division. The goal was to create content that would attract our audience to purchase tickets ahead of our event as well as give readers a light insight into the event theme. I successfully developed a content strategy which communicated strategic information about our event and speakers as well as national and international topics relating to TEDx. The successful execution of this content strategy enabled us to sell over 600 tickets in under a week – completely selling out our show.
This article was written to engage with aspiring TEDxBrixton speakers.
By Bridget Antwi
Whether you’re a master of ceremonies or suffer acute glossophobia, good public speaking skills can take years to develop. Bad preparation, not enough practice, too much waffle or too much information are among the biggest mistakes you can make during a public presentation.
We’ve had the opportunity of introducing some absolutely inspirational speakers who have left the TEDxBrixton crowd pumped and full of motivation.
So we’ve decided to compile a list of tips to help you prepare, practice and hone your own public speaking skills!
Tell the right story for your audience:
We’ve observed that the art of storytelling is important in all good presentations. Research your audience prior to the event to build awareness of their expectations. Make sure to choose a topic that will resonate with them.
Lead with your best material
: We all know the saying ‘you don’t get a second chance at a first impression’ so make an entrance. Open with an attention-grabbing line. Paulette Randall, a previous TEDxBrixton speaker opened her talk in 2013 with the lines: “I’m probably the most famous writer, director, producer, female, British, Jamaican, director…that you’ve never heard of!!” This had the audience in laughs from the offset.
Practice your presentation:
Why not do a dry run of your presentation to friends or family? Video yourself, record your voice and make sure to time yourself. Caroline Goyder, a voice coach who featured in last year’s conference, suggests that the best way to practice your vocal projection prior to a presentation is to sing. “Sing somewhere every day. Sing in the shower, sing in the car. Sing on the tube if you feel brave. Singing is the way to a great voice.”
Bring the energy:
“Confidence” and “displaying passion” of your subject are among the key elements to bringing energy to your audience according to past TEDxBrixton speakers Solomon Smith and Mahamed Hashi from The Soup Kitchen in Brixton. “Walk around [on stage] and look into the crowd. If you’re nervous, avoid specific eye contact as this tends to be rather disconcerting”.
Include a call to action:
End your presentation with a call-to-action. After you’ve inspired, motivated and educated your audience, you may want to encourage them to take steps to further their knowledge of the subject matter. Common actions include visiting a website or making a change of some sort.
It’s understandable to want to replicate the actions of a speaker you admire – but the more you act like yourself, the more confidence you’ll ooze and this is the most comfortable way to connect to your audience. You don’t have to tell jokes. Remember your audience are more interested in your content than a performance.
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