How to give a magical talk
TED talks are a great place to get your head fed and see some world class public speaking skills. One such talk is of a woman finding nirvana and hearing herself speak and sound like a golden retriever. Reads like a Tim Burton movie, doesn’t it? It’s actually a step by step journey of experiencing a stroke.
Apart from having a fine gift for story-telling, Dr Jill Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist who realised she was actually having a stroke. And so she both experienced and analysed it as much as she was able to.
Her talk is full of wonder, humour and more than a few jaw-dropping moments. However, if you think an 18 minute talk like this takes a couple of afternoons to knock into shape, think again.
Get out into nature
First of all, Jill came up with her talk whilst holidaying in Mexico. Strolling along a beach with a notepad, she put all her thoughts down on paper, and here’s the important part, without editing. Then she read out her words to hear how they sounded. Back at the hotel she typed up her words and only after her vacation did she begin editing and structuring her talk into sections.
Again. And again and again.
Once the talk was written it was time to practice it and choreograph her body language with delivering her words. And practice she did. Jill practiced her talk 200 times.
For me, this is the most humbling and powerful part. She experienced a stroke first hand and so this alone makes her an authority to talk about it and she’s studied the brain for many years, so she knows her stuff, however, she knew the benefit of practice and committed the time for this.
So, before you start crafting your next presentation get out into nature and devote time to practice your talk. Then practice some more.