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550: TED-style

If you were to give a TED-style talk, what would it be (or was it) about?


Full episode script

There are over 50,000 TED and TEDx talks alone, almost entirely available on YouTube. And, full disclosure, I’ve given a TEDx talk myself — about, what else, questions. There’s a lot to be said for the process of thinking through what you would want to talk about, how you would change the world, and how you’d explain it in 18 minutes or less.

As Morra Aarons-Mele wrote in Forbes:

For many would-be change-makers, pursuing TED status is a massive investment of time and money for an uncertain goal. Most speakers train for the talk as if for a marathon, and most pay consultants or dramaturgists thousands for coaching and speechwriting.

Those speeches, be they TEDx or PopTech or Ignite or one of the other hundred types of speeches that follow a similar format, there’s a certain cultural zeitgeist they seem to have embraced.

As Hanna Brooks Olson wrote in Creative Mornings:

Talks also play into a cultural desire and possible need for inspiration, something that is both positive and, as the late Stella Young pointed out in her talk, sometimes misguided. There’s been some research (and much hand-wringing) about the negative impact of social media on our emotions. Dubbed “the Age of Rage” way back in 2011, the digital era has some internet users feels extra-unhappy — which could explain our clamoring for something to offset the negativity. Inspiration is a science, and TED Talks and Creative Mornings lectures have tapped into it by offering information that is both educational and has a feeling of support and community. The messages, even when they’re about extremely grave or sad subjects, feel hopeful, as if there’s a solution to nearly any problem.

This doesn’t mean that an 18 minute speech will fix everything — or giving yourself the challenge of speaking in front of people will fix everything. Either way, there’s a heck of a lot to be said for figuring out what you would want to dig in to and tell the world about.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.