Plan Your Visuals

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If you're going to have a great Ted speech, you need to think of the visuals now, Ted is very different for most conferences, and they simply have no tolerance for awful, boring visuals, you cannot go to them and say, here's my PowerPoint deck of 30 slides and 12 bullet points on each slide. What the people at TED know is that audiences around the world do not really enjoy watching someone speak and then having to read a bunch of text up on the slide, whether they are in person in the room or the speeches given, or watching later online on YouTube, or at the TED site. What they understand is people like visual. So if you're going to use visuals that needs to be a picture, an image. It could be something you actually hold up. It could be a prop.

If you're going to use visuals, Don't be lazy, the laziest thing in the world to do is to just type a bunch of bullet points. Text, it won't cut it for Ted. And frankly, it won't cut it anywhere if you really want audiences to understand you. And remember, you, text is boring. If you want people to read, give them a book, email them later. Don't just give them a bunch of stuff up on a slide.

So you don't have to have visuals for your Ted presentation. Do keep that in mind. Your ideas need to stand on their own your stories need to paint pictures, and your audience's mind. And it could be just the background that they have for the particular forum that day. And the staging that works for you. You don't have to have visuals but the question to ask is not whether you need visuals.

No one cares about you the speaker. The question is, do you have some visuals that will help your audience understand the concept better remember the concept better. When al gore is talking about global warming, he's showing a picture. Here's what the glacier looked like 30 years ago. Here's what it looks like today, one's covered with a lot of snow and ice. One has a lot of green on it.

The visuals make his point, and a much more powerful way than simply putting statistics of ice cap melting 2% a year. You've got to have visuals that make your case in a way that people can look at it, see it? understand it. So the rule of thumb for any visual does it make your audience understand your point better than you saying it? Does it make them remember it better than you saying it if you can't say yes to both their lousy visuals, get rid of them, but put some real thought into this. The folks at TED do a fantastic job of staging of lighting.

The opening sound of They're making this thing look like a slick production. And this could be the one time you speak in your entire life where more than a million people see it. So it doesn't have to be Hollywood special effects. In fact, I would avoid anything with special effects unless you're speaking on new developments in special effects. But come up with me that right picture. A graph that's really really simple and focuses on just one idea, and perhaps no more than two variables could do the trick.

Think about your visuals. And make sure it helps your audience do that you'll be in good shape.

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