TED Talking

Remember when TEDTalks were a thing? You know, back when they were given by people like scientists and and humanitarians?

These days giving a TEDTalk has all the gravitas as calling yourself an associate. TEDTalks used to only take place at TED – the invite-only annual confab that used to take place in Monterey CA. Like Lollapalooza, it used to be cool in the 90s.

But now it’s been franchised out. Like Dairy Queens, every po-dunk has a TEDx or something. Whenever I see someone has “TEDTalk” on their resume or LinkedIn profile, it’s hard for me to take them seriously now. It’s like they’re bragging about having to give a speech in Des Moines. I’d be more impressed if you told me you had a duet with Pit Bull.

It doesn’t matter the topic either. There’s a TEDTalk way of talking that is so condescending. In case you’re about to give one yourself here’s a little cheatsheet on how to give a TEDTalk on any topic.

  1. Assume the audiences hasn’t given it much thought to whatever topic you’ve picked. Don’t worry if they have.
  2. Bring up a fact and present it as a little-known fact.
  3. Mansplain whatever you came there to talk about.

I’m going to talk to you about a topic very few us even think about. That topic is thought leadership. Here’s a little known fact. There are two crucial things that make someone a thought leader. One is thought. And you’ll never guess the second. Are you ready. Its leadership. I bet you were thinking it was going to be something else.