Last Thursday, we finished our TED Talk presentation. Our group topic is whether to implement coding as a second language in Canada or not.
In the first team meeting in class, we introduced ourselves, decided our topic to for the topic, and assigned the next meeting. On the next Monday, we listed all the parts needed to discuss and each group member chose one to two and began to do research. “Code Monkey” is a term for a computer programmer, and it can also refer to an online game that teaches you how to code. Hence, we resolved to use “Code Monkeys” as our team name.
In the same week, we watched two TED Talks together and found several common characteristics:
- Simple – Since the time limit is 20 min and each person has no more than 4 min to speak, speakers don’t deliver complex ideas to the audience.
- Clear – The context of the talk needs to be in a clear structure so that the audience can easily remember what speakers said. Also, the text in PowerPoint shouldn’t be long; using bullet points will be easy to view.
- Original – Since some topics are not strange to the audience (people may see before), viewing the topic from a new angle is important to make the talk fun and attracts the audience.
- Relevant – All the statistics, videos, and images used should be related to the topic and support what speakers say.
- Enjoyable – Speakers need to entertain their audience. Using humor properly and interacting with the audience can make your speech impressive for the audience.
Then, we made our first PowerPoint using videos, quotes, and images and adjusted several times before the in-class rehearsal. The first rehearsal was unsatisfied and we found a lot of problems. First, since we didn’t practice before, the total time we spoke exceeded the limit significantly (almost 4 min). Second, a 15-second video we used was unsupportive and time wasting. Additionally, there are many grammar errors in our oral presentation because of the lack of practices. Hence, we made an effort to modify our speech in the following two meetings. Because one of our team members had trouble to explain his parts in the first rehearsal, other two members helped him to rewrite his part. Instead of memorizing long and complex paragraphs, using one simple CS example from a first-year course made it much easier. In this way, his oral presentation can also coordinate with the information (image of the CS example) on his slides.
The result was satisfying. We spoke exactly in 20 min and members delivered assigned parts in different styles.
Although there are still some problems in the talk, we do learn a lot from this experience. Showing respect when others present ideas and giving suggestions when other members get into trouble are essential in teamwork.
I really like Money Masters’ TED Talk, which topic is about investing financial options. First, because this topic is in the field what I’ve studied, when I heard “mutual bond” “loan” I could understand what they were saying quickly. Besides, the first presenter was enthusiastic, the tone and body language he used easily brought the audience to the presentation. Additionally, each member used uniform PowerPoint layout so that the audience felt their presentation is consistent.
There were some similar problems appeared in the other teams’ presentation, but we also learned from what they did well.
In order to learn how to give a great TED Talk, I watched one TED talk, discussing how we teach computers to understand pictures. Since for the speaker, English is also her second language. The TED topic is in the field of computer science also, so I picked this one. The most impressive thing was that there were only statistics and images in her PowerPoint, and she was so familiar with them that didn’t even look at the screen.
In an actual TED Talk, speakers even need to prepare to take over when the unexpected happens. And the unexpected usually does happen. For example, there is an unexpected laugh from an audience when a speaker explains some technical terms, which are not funny at all. Hence, to deliver a mind-blowing TED Talk, there is still a lot of work that we need to do.