The Truth About Prepping for a TEDx Talk

by David Sloly

The Truth About Prepping for a TEDx Talk

So I get asked to give a TEDx talk.

What a huge privilege.

Someone believes that what I have in my head is worth sharing with the world.

I can see myself walking out on stage, addressing the audience who are hungry to learn.

But I only have a vague idea of exactly what I am going to say.

So I watch a lot of TED talks and quickly realise that the presenters know exactly what they are saying.


The challenge becomes real.

I need structure.

Lots of carefully crafted structure.

Which starts with research.

I find twenty-five years of material that’s even remotely related to my subject of choice (the power of story and a technique for creating them) and paste it all into a single document.

The process is a like visiting a relative and looking over the family photos.

Some documents are immediately recognisable and draw me in and others seem totally alien.

The alien documents need reading in full again and it’s only then that I realise how easily it is to forget the past.

So I question what else you may be missing.

And it’s back to Google and more research.

More cutting and pasting.

My laptop scroll bar jerks unhappily through the pages, warning me that if I don’t edit now I may loose the lot.

Is there a place in the universe where large documents that cause machines to crash swirl around forming new galaxies based on their content?

It’s time for bed.

In the morning I will begin the big edit.

Keep it to 1000 words is the advice from the TEDx team and I’m on 46,000.

If I take this on stage it would be the first TED talk that is too long to upload to YouTube, so I begin the edit.

25 years of priceless learning being hacked away at.

Highlight, backspace…. Apple Z… Sorry Aristotle, I didn’t mean to delete you!

Print, read, strike through.

I live in cafes drinking coffee.

Deleting great story after story until in the end I have 1000 words.

It’s nearly there.

I read it aloud.

And discover the truth.

A TED talk can only answer one question.

Do I talk about the power of stories… tell stories… or reveal to the audience my own process for creating stories?

Only one idea can have the spotlight.

Time to kill my babies as the saying goes.

I choose my process for creating stories as the new idea to share with the world.

Then my document quickly expands by 20,000 words as I gather more information.

And the process starts all over again.

Join David Sloly at TEDx Bristol 2015 and discover the simple 5-step process for creating authentic stories