Dolores Hirschmann, of Masters in Clarity and former Tedx organizer, specializes in helping people clarify their message and their positioning so they can scale their businesses. She shares her top 10 tips to give a compelling talk or TEDxTalk for your business.
WHAT IS A TEDxTALK TALK?
TED stands for technology, entertainment and design. The organization is based out of New York City and traditionally has hosted 3 big events a year: Vancouver. TEDWomen in Long Beach, and the UK. This is where you would see a Simon Sinek or a Brene Brown. Both of them first were speakers at TEDx events.
In 2010, TED recognized people liked the format. It was getting good feedback on the talks online. In an effort to create more opportunities for speakers, TEDx was born. It gave regular people just like you and I an opportunity to give a talk. It follows the format of a TED talk. There is a license and rules. Over time, TEDx has become really great platform for sharing your message as a small business.
HOW TO START?
Start with your immediate circle of influence. If you are in New York City, you start looking for events in the New York area. Then start to look 50 miles away. Find organizers that have done it before to ensure there will be good video production. Figure out what events are coming up in the next six or nine months. Start finding the themes for these events. In the application, share a line with your experience relating to this theme.
Share your core idea in a five or six or eight word sentence. Not a whole paragraph. As, as a curator we would get hundreds of applications. I was a volunteer. The longer the first answer to the question in the form, the less likely that we won’t read it.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH THE TEDX PROCESS
People are conducting virtual auditions. We actually have a client auditioning for an October event in the UK right now. I don’t think anything live will happen before November, December or maybe even 2021. But a lot of speakers believe nothing is happening right now, so they do nothing. So if you’re a new speaker, it may be a great moment to act cause there’s a lot less noise, there’s a lot of applications, less applications being filled out.
#1 WHAT IS YOUR CORE IDEA?
There is a difference between “what you stand for” and the “work you do.” Your work or the products can change over time. But at the core remains fundamental. For example, you can be a transportation company that makes horse drawn carriages and you can also make cars. Fundamentally, you get people from point A to point B. It’s something that is bigger than the way you’re showing up.
When you are clear on that, then you can allow for evolutions of your business without feeling like you’re throwing spaghetti to the wall,” says Hirschmann.
Get clear on what is the one idea you want to bring to light. This is sometimes the the biggest and hardest part of the process. A talk is not a story. A story is a tool a speaker uses to deliver an idea. What is the core idea? Which stories support it? Once you have that, you can run with it.
If you are doing international deals and don’t know the cultural rules of engagement in a country, you can actually lose deals. So you could start a talk with “what was the last deal you lost simply because you did not know the culture? “ Start with the pain point and then talk about the unconscious or undefined set of rules in operation. End with, “You can actually become more powerful in doing international business knowing those unspoken rules.”
Said another way, Ask yourself, “What is the outcome that your work produces and what is the vehicle through which that production happens?”
A graphic design artist is the vehicle. A business wants a logo because they want to be represented by something that reflects their values. Outcome: A graphic design artist captures the essence of a brand in a logo so the brand can scale.
#2 BUILD TRUST. WHY ARE YOU THE ONE TO DELIVER THIS CONCEPT OR IDEA
Ask yourself, “How do I stand out?” You might be doing work that millions of other people who are ear, nose, and throat doctors, but how are you unique? Weave that uniqueness into your communication strategy.
#3 MEET THE AUDIENCE WHERE THEY ARE
If you are on a bus and you pull up to the bus stop, you make a decision to get on or get off. Is this bus going where I want to go? If you decide to stay on, you are on the journey.
The audience is driven by “What’s in it for me?” They’re not selfish, they’re just humans. Match what your audience cares about with your talk. What do they care about? Make them care about hopping on a bus with you.
Also, in meetings, understand what drives one person or 15 people. Lead with what they care about most to get buy in.
You kind of have to be in it for them before you’re in it for you. I hear you, I care for you. It could be as simple as saying “good morning” before launching into the meeting agenda. Remember, you, as a leader, may be having a reaction to a situation. But we have to be able to filter out our emotional experience. As a leader, ask yourself, before you walk into the room: “How do I feel about it? Am I in fear? Will I translate that fear in my communication? Learn to love the dance between who you are, what makes a good leader, and what makes for effective communication.
#4 INTRODUCE DATA TO SUPPORT YOUR IDEA
Facts are great, but how does that number, that statistic affect me as a human being? Wrap facts in storytelling.
Example: If you were looking for a job, I could say 80% of resumes get ignored by big companies because of their software system. But let me tell you the story of Mary who spent two years trying to get a job. And then we tweaked this and that, and she got picked up right away. The statistic gives it relevance. It gives you authority in that you know what you’re talking about.
Start with a question: “How many of you want to find the one KPI that will turn your business around? Raise your hand.” You hook the audience in and say this is what we’re going to talk about. It’s not about a KPI and data just for sake of data is KPI. Be authentic to who you are.
#5 SHARE WHAT IS POSSIBLE WITH YOUR IDEA
REMIND THE AUDIENCE why you brought them to the stage today, right? You say, well, this is what we’re talking about. And then you bring them in what is possible.
How much can you mix your own personal vulnerability and transformation into a talk but still make it about the audience?
Step one is make the audience care. Step two is introduce your idea.
What do you want?
That’s exactly what my boss asked me and I burst into tears.
I believe that when we do not want know where we’re going, we can not set up for what we want. So I just did two things.
I just gave you a present tense personal story, which is true. It happened. The second is what I believe. My philosophy is that because I don’t know where I want, I can’t claim it. My talk is one where I teach you how to find what you want if you want.
#6 USE PERSONAL STORIES BUT HAVE A TAKEAWAY
If you’re not a writer, speak it, record it, and listen to it with your eyes closed. Feel into your talk. Share it with a couple of people that you trust and say, what do you get from it? And if they come back and they say, “Oh my God, I love your story. I never knew that happened to you, then you’re missing the point. You made them happy for a minute, but you’re not teaching them anything. And so you want to know is what was your takeaway from listening to this? And if they have a clear takeaway, then you got it.”
#7 SHARE A CALL TO ACTION
At the end, invite the audience to take action. If you’re doing a lead generation, you can ask the audience to download this free resource or write your name on this paper and I will reach out to you. If you’re in sales, invite them to make a purchase.
#8 WHAT IS THE IDEAL LENGTH OF A TEDx TALK?
15–18 minutes max.
Keep in mind, the learning from a talk doesn’t happen until two more things happen. Digestion (asking questions) and integration. Integration is stopping to ask yourself, “How am I feeling about this before sending that email to 15 people?” Now, as a leader, you are integrating the information from the talk about separating your emotional experience from delivery to a team. Without integration, we do not learn anything. Eventually we forget.
#9 WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FIRST TAKE THE STAGE
Walk on stage and go right into the first statement, whether it’s a question or a present tense story. Tell stories in present tense so the audience is with you in the moment. If nobody introduced you, keep the audience guessing until you tell them who you are in your talk.
#10 SHOW THE AUDIENCE RATHER THAN TELL THEM
If the topic is mental health and the idea is how critical it is for human survival. Share some learning. Then share a story. Bring the audience by the hand into a story where they can feel themselves in it. Then you extract the learning and share it.
“Show the audience what’s going on, then tell them what’s going on. “
ADDRESSING A GROUP VS INDIVIDUALS
Understand the drivers of one person or 15 people. But still lead with what they care about most.
You kind of have to be in it for them before you’re in it for you. I hear you, I care for you. And so it could be a simple as a good morning or Monday before launching into the agenda. Remember, you, as a leader, may be having a reaction to a situation. But we have to be able to filter our emotional experience and delivering that information to a team. As a leader, ask yourself, before you walk into the room: “How do I feel about it? Am I in fear? Will I translate that fear in my communication? Learn to love the dance between who you are, what makes a good leader, and what makes effective communication.
#11 WHEN NETWORKING, HOW TO EXTEND A HAND TO KEEP THE CONVO GOING
Let’s say you have built rapport with a star, you can offer up, “ I belong to a great network of business women and entrepreneurs. If there is anything I can help you with, let me know or I’m happy to have you come speak.”
BUILD TRUST. Understanding how people connect. How do you translate that in the digital world. It doesn’t mean creating Facebook ads and hoping for the best. It means that you’re intentionally say what, how many human beings can I talk with today even if the talk happens on a virtual coffee?
HOW TO BE MORE RELAXED WHEN GIVING A TALK
I believe that the more in love you are with your work, the more that love will transpire. That is something you energetically design in side. Get so excited about your work that you forget the audience is even there. Replicate that flow state on the stage? It’s more of a mindset. “I am so incredibly in love and convinced and committed to the message that I have to deliver, that I can hear and feel my fear. But, but my message is bigger than my fear.” It’s not about eliminating the fear. Embrace it because it’s keeping you safe. Say to fear, “thank you for trying to keep me safe, but this message is more important than my sweaty hands.“
If you are giving an art talk, drill down on the talk you want to give and bring the art into it as it. While many of us are using stories to illustrate our point, you can use art and the story of that piece of art to illustrate your point.
HOW TO MAKE A TALK MORE GLOBAL
All problems have a common denominator. Go one step deeper into the talk that you want to give and discover the common problem that a person experiences based on this issue. Then you can be more global.
DO YOU WAIT UNTIL THE BOOK IS PUBLISHED BEFORE REACHING OUT TO TED OR DO THE TALK FIRST AS INFORMATION FOR THE BOOK
I have had a client who wrote a talk. The talk was picked up by a publishing house and he was given an advance of $1.5 million. It’s not common. Write the talk. It will expedite the writing of your book. When you deliver the talk, it doesn’t really matter. Obviously the closer you deliver it to the release of your book, the better. That Ted video becomes a tool that will boost sales of the book.
In conclusion, claim the lane of your idea. Consistently and with commitment, lead that conversation on every platform, whether it’s a book, a TEDx, podcast, in LinkedIn. None of these function in silos.
Follow, love, and commit to your words. We are never going to be found by someone else, and then deemed the guru. Find yourself first and lead that conversation.
I head up a leadership platform for South Asian executive women and founders called LadyDrinks.
On this channel I will offer you tips on three things that I believe are needed for persistence in business: Marketing, Innovation, Time management, and the ultimate — -Self care.
Sign up for the LadyDrinks newsletter, sharing actionable tips on persistence in your daily life https://ladydrinks.com/signup/
Follow my Youtube Channel for daily posts about persistence and how it can help you. https://www.youtube.com/c/joyadassleadership
Sign up for my virtual workshops this week at www.ladydrinks.com