Is there any subject that can’t be covered in a TED Talk?
Apparently not. You can make a TED Talk about anything, even nothing, as veteran improviser and rookie Saturday Night Live writer, Will Stephen, demonstrated at a recent TEDx event in New York City.
What you shouldn’t do is deviate from TED’s established presentation tropes. Stephen may be punking us with his How to Sound Smart in Your TEDx Talk, above, but aspirant TED speakers should take notes. One can’t practice observational humor without being a keen observer. Stephen's insights are as good a playbook as any for that unmistakeable TED-style delivery:
Use your hands.
Engage the audience by asking them a question that will result in a show of hands…
By show of hands, how many of you have been asked a question before?
Hit ‘em with an endearing, personal anecdote.
Projections will enhance your credibility.
Replay the clip with the sound down, as Stephen suggests, and it’s still obvious what he’s doing - giving a TED Talk. (The familiar camera work and editing don’t hurt either.)
Even if you’re not planning on nominating yourself to become a TED speaker in the near future, Stephen’s lesson should prove handy next time you’re called upon to do some public speaking, whether running for President or delivering the toast at your best friend’s wedding.
And nothing is certainly not the only topic of substance upon which Stephen can discourse. Witness his Tinder Strategy Powerpoint.
Hmm, maybe there are some TED-proof subjects after all...