How to Make a Ted Talk that isn’t nauseating

Ted Talks were basically currency at my high school. If the class was good during a stressful time, a substitute teacher, a guest speaker: boom! You got to listen to a Ted Talk at the end of the week. You wanted a credible source that didn’t bore you to the point of tears: boom! Ted Talk. You want to appear cultured and educated in front of your peers while actually enjoying yourself: boom! Ted Talk.

I love me a good Ted Talk. I love the way it tickles my brain, I love how the stage is set up and there’s a spotlight on a person and there they are, talking about what makes them happy, about what they’ve discovered. About their little piece of the world they carved from the pie, and just how sweet it is.

That being said, my topic isn’t scientifically splendid, argumentatively ardent, nor tantalizingly truthful. I am not a scientist, a therapist, an explorer. I am a 19-year-old art-fart with a thing for French horns and alliterations.

I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.

The only thing out of every cool Ted Talk I’m pretty sure I’ve got in the bag is the hook. I can tell a story about an profound experience I’ve had with music and I can grab everyone’s attention. I can be snarky and fun, I can be myself and use my voice and hopefully most people won’t viscerally hate it.

The tagline of a Ted Talk is “a nonprofit for ideas worth spreading” but I’m not really sure which of my ideas are worth spreading, and which haven’t been gone over before. I’ve seen the Ted Talks on music education, and I think they’re awesome. They make me so happy! And I’ve seen a Ted Talk on an instrument made with fire and soundwaves, I’ve seen one done by a music therapist, I’ve seen one done by an orchestra director. All of these inspired me, they all made me want to crawl into a practice room and bash my horn into my head until what poured out of it sounded nice.

But what exactly are my ideas, I’m wondering. And what makes them worth spreading?

The technology-aspect, I’ve got. I’ve got a camera and a mic, I’ve got a cool stage I could use. I could write a speech pretty decently, I feel, if I was inspired and had time to edit it. Hell, I could even trundle down to Banana Republic and get myself a blazer. But the content of my talk, that’s the kicker.

I have no idea.

Ellie Snyder

Underweight, annoying glasses-enthusiast seeks nice Jewish boy to sit on her feet when they're cold. And also some good words and some not-too-strong coffee.

One thought to “How to Make a Ted Talk that isn’t nauseating”

  1. Hey Ellie,
    Sorry for my delay in responding to your blog. I think it’s great that you are considering making a Ted talk, and hopefully by the time you read this you haven’t changed your mind about doing one. While I have never done a ted talk, I did have to take a speech class in high school, (which I still have ptsd from) so I kind of (but at the same time don’t) know what you are going through. Given that you have had prior experience to crowds through your musical career, I can only assume that you have developed some sort of immunity towards public speaking/performing. This probably isn’t being very helpful at this point…
    Ok, so toward the main issue of content. I honestly think that you already have what you need in order to make a really good talk. Most of the Ted talks that I ever actually enjoyed were really out there. They were convoluted to the point that their message had to be valid. The first guy was Ran Gavrieli. His argument is a personal statement as to why he no longer watches pornography, and while it sounds weird, he makes a solid point. Second is Lemon Andersen, he recites a poem, and then describes the hardships he needed to overcome for the sake of his art. The reason I am telling you this, is because they both use personal experience to navigate their talk, as well as use body language over distracting visuals to strengthen their points. Being that your story was so specific, you actually have a lot of room to work with. You can always describe how music has affected your point of view as a student at the University, as well as mention any hardships that you have overcome with the help of music, or food. If you wanted to incorporate food, I recommend the comedian Jim Gaffigan, he has a very interesting point of view when it comes to food, and makes a solid argument to how food can be considered intimate.Just a thought.
    Hope the Ted talk works in your favor. Good luck!

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