Evict The Enemy Within

February 5, 2015.

I get a message from Dr K K Ramachandran of TEDEx GDR, asking me whether I would be available to deliver a talk at the TEDxGdr event on March 4, 2015. The theme: ‘Enlightenment’. I could choose any topic in that context. Duration 15 minutes. Another 3 minutes were available, just in case.

I had to give my topic by the next day. I chose ‘Evict the Enemies Within Each of Us’.My work started immediately thereafter.

1. I had to figure out who the enemies were. It took me almost 5 days to do that

2. Thereafter I started writing a draft script for the talk. I remembered that on an average I spoke 120 words a minute. 15 minutes would mean 1800 words. I decided to keep it to 1500 words.

3. I was unhappy with the initial drafts. So I took a short break.

4. In the meantime I saw several TED/TEDx videos – mostly from the top 10, most popular 10 etc. I began to understand how the speakers held audience interest right from the beginning.

5. Stories were important. So I put together all the stories I use during my talks, presentations and conversations.

6. Made a shortlist of stories which lent themselves to my theme.

7. Meanwhile I read two books on ‘How to deliver a TED Talk. I got some useful pointers from there. Example: Talk about 3 key points – the number three seems to have a magical appeal.

8. I also understood how to end the talk delivering a ‘take home message’

9. I was thinking of delivering the talk without any slides – till I read an excellent book called Presentation Zen. That led me to another book called Presentation Zen design. I got excellent tips on how to design slides for a TED Talk.

10. Now I started designing my slides. I learnt that one large visual creates a great impact. I selected pictures from Flickr – only pictures available under the Creative Commons License.

11. ‘Design slides like bill boards’ is an idea I used.

12. My slides had very little text. Wherever there was text, I used Optima 100 pt reverse. You could read the text from anywhere in the room.

13. I checked each slide on the slide sorter; it gave me a good idea of how it would look on the screen.

14. I discovered an excellent editing software called “Hemingway App”. The software gave me instant feedback on how easy or difficult it was to understand my talk.

15. I sent the script to my daughter for her comments. I am glad I asked, because she made valuable suggestions, and helped me tighten the script.

16. I now had all the slides ready (50 of them). Checked every single slide; wherever I used a picture I included copyright details with the photographer’s name.

17. I projected the slides to see how they looked in a large size. Made a few changes.

18. I recorded my talk and realised that I was too slow and exceeded my time limit. (Number words of 1360). Tried couple of times again, speaking faster. It was 17 minutes.

19. On the day prior to the D Day went to the venue to check the dais, lighting, seating etc.

20. On the D Day rehearsed the talk 6 times (4:00 am to 6:00 am). Made a few changes in the slides.

Delivered the talkĀ ‘Evict the enemies within‘ at 11:00 am on March 4, 2015.

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