The talks given at the TED conferences are some of the best you will ever see. While the actual conference is open to only about 1,000 attendees by invitation only, most of the presentations are available free online.
I highly recommend checking out some of the TED talks. Two sentences on their website sum up what you are in for. The first is their site tagline: “Ideas worth spreading.” That’s what TED is about. The second is “riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.” Fantastic.
One of the reasons the talks are so good is that the TED organizers provide the presenters with ten speaking guidelines (the “TED Commandments”). I admit that the concept of “TED Commandments” is a bit hokey, but they are nonetheless very helpful. Here they are:
- Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick.
- Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
- Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
- Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
- Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy.
- Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
- Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
- Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
- Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
- Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.