TED Talk: from an audience to a speaker

I must say; the TED assignment was much more interesting than what I had expected.


TED talk is not something new to me. I watched my first TED talk in grade 10 for a high school English assignment. The talk was called Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. It was presented by Angela Lee Duckworth. Unlike other learning materials from English class, Shakespeare’s literature for example, where I stopped reading outside of the classroom. I still watch TED talks on a regular basis. I had even downloaded a few talks on my phone to watch on the subway.


You can find many interesting talks on the TED website. Their ideas cover pretty much anything that you can imagine. They range from the most serious things to the wildest dreams that you ever had. There are also talks in other languages. French, Chinese, Germen, and the list goes on.


One thing that I love about TED talks is that you can learn a lot from them and apply it to your everyday life. Their talks range from how to posture in an interview (Amy Cuddy, your body language may shape who you are) to how to steal some one’s watch and pick their pockets. Link to that video is at the end of the post.


Unlike learning materials such as textbook and course note that are dry and boring. TED talks present materials in an interactive presentation. Most TED talks range from 10 to 20 minutes. Which is a good amount of time which too long of a talk may put audiences to sleep and too short may not be enough to explain the idea. TED talk have balanced rhetorical triangle. The speaker is most likely a professional in their field (ETHOS). Their talk draws the audience’s emotions (PATHOS). And in most talks, the speaker presents research to back up their claims (LOGOS).


Before this TED talk assignment, I had always been an audience behind the screen. I thought it would be a difficult assignment as there are 5 minutes of materials to memorize and know by heart. However, it got easier by practice and support from my teammates.


I think there are 3 key ideas to delivering a talk.

  1. Choose a good topic. Talk about something that you know or something that you are interested to discover.
  2. Plan the things that you want to talk about, and in what order. Insert some jokes here and there and do not put your audiences to sleep. Know your audiences so you know what level of literacy/proficiency you will use.
  3. Practice, Practice, and Practice. Know your slides and the key points by heart so you know what to say on stage. Get familiar with the floor plan of the place as professor Sara had mentioned in class. I like to practice in front a mirror so I can try to sell myself the idea that I’m trying to spread in the mirror.



At last, shout out to my teammates, you guys were great. Thank you all for the hard work and support.


Do you really want to learn how to pickpocket? Click here. It is called The art of misdirection by Apollo Robbins. It is one of the most astonishing and useful talks that I had ever watch on TED.


PS. I did manage to take out a phone and 20 dollars from my friend’s pocket once. All items were returned at the end, of course.

One thought on “TED Talk: from an audience to a speaker

  1. I watched the Robbins talk again. I watched it once but it deserved another viewing – he is incredible! I can’t believe you were able to pick someone’s pocket. There are professionals like that all over major cities in Europe, but I don’t think there is that tradition in North America. Loved you advice – a great list!


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