Home » How To Plan A Ted Talk: The Key To Help You Reach Millions

How To Plan A Ted Talk: The Key To Help You Reach Millions

TED events are all about ideas worth spreading, so if you’ve ever wondered how to plan a TED Talk, you’re on the right track. TEDx events allow speakers, coaches, and everyday people with big ideas the opportunity to impact the world.

Some of the best talks started with a small audience. However, they incorporated one aspect that helped what started as an independently organized event reach hundreds, thousands, and millions of real people.

The power of their stages is unique to both TED and TEDx. Despite its influence, taking the stage and talking for 18 minutes doesn’t change the world. However, there is a key to harnessing the opportunity TED creates.

This key can be as easy as seven steps or taking advantage of the one factor contributing to many viral talks. In this article, we answer the following questions:

is self publishing worth it

How Much Does It Cost To Do A Ted Talk?

is self publishing worth it

How Do I Start A Ted Talk Topic?

is self publishing worth it

What Are The Top 5 Elements For An Engaging Ted Talk?

is self publishing worth it

How Long Does It Take To Prepare A Ted Talk?

Whether it’s your first time hearing about this form of speaking or watching them more frequently than you binge Netflix, it’s crucial to understand how your specific story could impact millions. We’ll start with the basics and then dive into the more creative aspects.

How Much Does It Cost To Do A TED Talk?

If you look up the TED organization, you’ll quickly find that while you are not paid to speak for TED, it does not cost you financially to present. Speaking for TED is an honor unto itself and gives you the possibility of landing future talks.

Of course, whether you speak at a local TEDx event or go on to make a name at TED conferences, it’s vital to prepare appropriately. TED focuses on ideas worth taking to thousands, if not millions, of listeners. Speaking for TED is entirely free, but
preparing will take an investment of time and perhaps finances.

How to plan for a TED Talk doesn’t need to start with worrying about the financial aspect. Instead, you can focus on deciding how best to grab the audience’s attention, so they receive the message you worked so hard on.

How Do I Start A Ted Talk Topic?

Choosing a topic for your speech can seem overwhelming, but following the TEDx speaker guide and surrounding yourself with a team will alleviate some pressure. The TEDx program is specific to local communities. Knowing your audience helps you choose
the perfect topic.

Below we will break down a list of talks that gained thousands if not millions of views and span subjects such as technology, entertainment, and design. Whatever the area of your expertise, take note of how these speakers approached their topics.

TED Talks That Reached Millions

Some past TEDx events include names such as Brene Brown, Tim Urban, and Simon Sinek. They crafted such an excellent talk that millions viewed their presentation. Their talks span a variety of topics:

  • Listening To Shame

  • Inside The Mind Of A Master Procrastinator

  • How Great Leaders Inspire Action

While their speeches are pretty different, one unique aspect ties their TEDx Talks together—and it’s not that they each share millions of views. But yes, each of these individuals spent time going through a process.

They worked hard to land their talk and prepare their talk, but when they gave their talk, one facet particularly resonated with their audience.

how to plan a ted talk

The One Commonality They Share

In every one of these three talks, the speaker walked on stage and talked about a topic in which they had some expertise but also experienced vulnerability. Authenticity feels a bit like a buzzword at this point, and rightfully so.

However, authentically presenting your speech is critical since genuine connection relies on vulnerability. Brene Brown understood the power of shame but showed audiences a new side to this feeling.

Tim Urban called out himself and every other procrastinator in the room but used a comedic twist to soften his message. Finally, Simon Sinek dug his way down to the root of our decision-making processes and helped us understand why our decisions start with a question.

Presenting with vulnerability unites the speaker with the audience, builds commonality, and creates empathy. Once your audience can empathize, incorporating the following five elements becomes easier.

What Are The Top 5 Elements For An Engaging Ted Talk?

An engaging speech should include some level of vulnerability, but there are five essential elements to layer into your talk. Just as books, movies, and TV shows usually follow a three-point structure, speeches follow a format as well.

The better you grasp the right format, the smoother your speech will turn out. Creatives are often told they must learn the rules of their craft in order to know how to break them. The same sentiment goes for speeches. Ironically, let’s start at the end.

1. Begin With The End In Mind

If you don’t know where you plan to take your audience, deciding what to say will be difficult, and reaching the end will be nearly impossible. Articulate where you want to go to effectively lead your audience on the journey.

2. Have A Catchphrase

Calls to action, or CTAs, make the marketing world go round. For example, if you give a speech you want your audience to take action after your talk. Presenting them a catchphrase lets them implement what you teach after you walk off stage.

Example: Nike’s “Just Do It.”

3. Avoid Intro Buzzkill

If someone introduces you, do your best to ensure they are concise as they summarize who you are and why you are the one to take the stage. You don’t want your audience bored before you have a chance to step in front of them.

4. Open Strong To Hook Your Audience

While on the topic of intros, make sure you start your talk off well by grabbing your audience from the first sentence. Include your audience in your story as quickly as possible: Say something profound, tell a story, and state a shocking fact.

5. Reiterate The “Why”

Before ever stepping on stage, make sure you can articulate in a phrase or sentence why you chose to give your talk. The better you can understand your reason, the more quickly your audience will grasp the purpose of your talk and what their response can be.

You know what you need to do, but now comes the question: How long will it take to make your dream happen?

How Long Does It Take To Prepare A Ted Talk?

Preparing your talk is one of the most critical aspects of the entire process. Of course, you could beat the odds and book yourself on your first try, but if your talk isn’t spellbinding, giving a talk early will work against you.

Instead, the question is: How can I best prepare my talk? Usually, it takes a village of people to make something truly great—and TED is all about great ideas. So if you feel unsure how to prepare a talk, surround yourself with the right team.

Your team is what will help you take your talk from ideation to execution. Never underestimate the power of individuals banding together to form a group focused on a singular goal. The more focus you can create with your team, the more clarity your talk will have.

How To Make The Best TED Talks Of 2022: Start With TEDx

Preparing with a team of like-minded individuals can take you to the TEDx stage and beyond. How to plan a TED talk does not need to be a process filled with intimidation and stress. In fact, the more you can offload the process of landing your talk to your team, the more time you can focus on preparing the talk itself.

When you land your talk with TEDx, your journey is only just starting. But, as so many TEDx speakers show, you too can find success on the TEDx stage and possibly allow yourself to make it to TED.

The best way to use TED Talks is to present on TEDx yourself, open your possibilities for TED, and influence thousands, if not millions, on your journey. The world is waiting for what you have to offer.

Your story is unique, and only you can share it from your specific point of view. Only you can tell your story with the level of vulnerability and care it deserves. The TEDx platform is available. All you have to do is put the effort in and step forward. What talk will you share?


Sarah Rexford
Content Writer

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