TEDx coach Stefan Fothe believes the world is becoming more and more “non-physical, distanced and mechanical”. “What are the implications for humanity?” he asks. This question relates to the theme of a TedxStKilda event happening in April: Fate or Fake.
TEDx events are independently organised conferences. They’re TED-like, but on a smaller scale. TED talks are delivered to audiences of more than 1200 people whereas TEDx conferences host audiences of only 100 or so. (Tedx is viewed as a stepping stone to TED.) The Open Mic Nights, meanwhile, give people the chance to speak in front of a live audience, with one person then chosen to be a featured speaker at a TEDx event – in this case TEDxStKilda 2017.
TEDxStKilda is hosting its first Open Mic Night on April 4. Speakers have three minutes to share their ideas in front of an audience – all the so-called ‘pitchers’ receive a one-on-one coaching session with Fothe and the TedxStKilda team prior to the event that will help them with script writing and stage presence.
“We want to see local talents in St Kilda and Melbourne who have intriguing nuggets, and then we can work together to make it into a proper TED talk,” Fothe says. “We are expecting raw ideas, we want to encourage thought leaders and people who have interesting stories.”
Fothe says the word “fake” in the topic can relate to “advances in artificial intelligence, medicine and social media”, for example.
When it comes to what makes a great TED talk, Fothe says: “You don’t want to reveal the idea in the first minute, but you don’t want to reveal it in the last minute, either. Be clear on what the ‘aha’ moment you want to generate is.”
Just like in any story, pay attention to how you’re structuring your speech, he adds.
He suggests you ask yourself: “What’s the idea and how do I talk about it? Know what you’re going to tell the audience,” Fothe says.
Passion and enthusiasm is also vital. “TED talks are not an abstract description of something,” Fothe says. “As a speaker you are like a medium connecting your idea to the audience, and to be an effective medium you need to be passionate.”
Entrepreneur Adam Radly spoke at TEDxStKilda 2016. With help from Fothe and other coaches his idea was then developed into a full TEDx talk, “Passion before motivation and humanity before happiness”. Of all the TEDxStKilda talks, Radly’s video has made the most noise so far, reaching more than 1.2 million views on YouTube.
But you don’t need to be the owner of a million-dollar company to make a successful TED talk.
“Everybody can do it, all walks of life come together at TEDxStKilda,” Fothe says. “We do always have scientists, but we also have people who share their personal life stories.
“What we mean by ‘ideas’ is not just academic advancement – what’s more important for us is a really interesting view on a challenge or an issue.”
If you don’t want to present at the Open Mic night it’s still worth stopping by to sit in the audience.
“Every TED talk watched live is intensified,” Fothe says. “You come in and are inspired by a talk to think differently.”