Well, kind of. But the premise of TED and TEDx (independently organized TED events) are to spread ideas worth sharing.
That imposes two big burdens on you as a presenter:
1. You need an idea.
2. It needs to be worth spreading.
Extra pressure if you have ever watched any TED.com video and noticed the 3,000,000 views and the incredibly talented presenters who earn that kind of following.
When you first agree to give the presentation, (in my case there was wine involved) you kind of get swept up in the moment. And then, once you have been accepted to speak it hits you. There is no way in the world you can do it. It's impossible.
A. You don't have any ideas.
B. Who in the world is going to want to spread your idea, if you can in fact actually come up with one?
C. You have to stand on an actual stage and memorize your entire presentation.
D. You haven't done anything that changed the world: you don't have a PhD, you haven't cured halitosis, and you haven't built an MRI machine out of tin foil and an orange can in the middle of the desert.
But that is precisely why you will be good at your talk. You are a normal person with ideas that CAN change the world. They needn't be grand ideas. They just need to touch one person at a time.
Don't you relate best to someone like you who has overcome ordinary limitations? I don't know about the world you live in, but the one I currently inhabit is filled with people just like me. My friends aren't CEOs or brain surgeons, inventors, or even the United States Poet Laureate. They are people facing the ups and downs of life and doing the best they can.
So get crafting that killer talk of yours:
- Tell a story that matters to you.
- Practice until you bore yourself to death with your subject matter.
- Record yourself giving your speech. (Try not to gag at the sound of your own voice. Ignore that speech impediment that you have developed overnight.)
- Find impactful visuals for the live audience.
- Practice some more with sound and visuals together.
- Give your speech to one or more honest friends.
- Refine 1,000 times, being sure to eliminate any words that don't roll off your tongue easily.
- Relax and enjoy the moment.
- Drink some wine (preferably from the Napa Valley). It may or may not improve your talk but hey, we need to make a living out here.
- Visualize the end of your talk and the feeling of mastery that you will have.
- Go forth and conquer the world.
And it doesn't have to be perfect! Mine certainly wasn't.
Did you notice the moments when I forgot my next words? When I spoke, I was looking at just the images you saw behind me with no notes or prompts. Occasionally the exact words left me. I just kept going until they reappeared, which thankfully they did. That's where the practice comes in.