Almost two years into my TEDx journey (my talk went live on YouTube in June 2016), I can assure you it completely changed my business and my life. So much so that I wish this kind of growth and success for others, which is why I started Red Dot Stage, a speaker coaching service to help people succeed on the TEDx stage and beyond.
I’m asked all the time, “What is it that made your talk stand out to, first, be selected among thousands of applicants, and second, be shared so virally and enthusiastically?” Looking back on my journey, I believe there is no secret or magic formula, but rather some straight answers I’m happy to share. Here are the three main lessons I learned from giving a successful TEDx talk:
Lesson 1: Care
Do you want to know why I got chosen to do a TEDx talk? The answer is simple: I pitched an idea rather than pitching myself. When I asked the curator why he had picked me out of the pile, he said it was because I focused on my idea and why it was worth spreading, rather than on what having a TEDx talk could do for me.
I believe that to really make an impact with your talk, you have to truly, madly, deeply care about your mission and the people you want to reach with your message—much more than about what’s in it for you. If you do your TEDx talk for the right reasons, your audience will feel it. The bottom line is this: if your passion burns brightly and your tribe truly matters to you, your success on stage is almost guaranteed.
Lesson 2: Dare
As TED phenomenon and author Brené Brown teaches, we need to “dare greatly” if we really want to leave a legacy with our talk. I knew that getting on that stage and sharing my vision with a world audience would be a somewhat vulnerable experience. But I believe we are not here to play it small and to hide our gifts from the world.
We have to show up as our most humble human selves and connect with others from the heart. We need to drop the act of perfection. We need to get rid of our own expert label. We need to speak our truth from a place of deep authenticity. If we dare to bare our souls in this way, others will be inspired to rally around our cause and as a result our mission actually comes to life!
Lesson 3: Share
Oftentimes people ask me what I did to make my TEDx talk go viral (a million views in less than a year). While I recommend various different business strategies to help achieve the “viral” effect, it all starts with how share-worthy your talk actually is. Does your viewer see your talk as a gift? Does your talk uplift, surprise, amuse, or empower people? If the answer is yes, then your viewers will want to share your gift with others, too!
The simple act of sharing is a behavior that’s at the core of human nature. Whether we find a secret hotspot for fancy drinks, an amazing vitamin supplement, or a wonderful yoga teacher, we want people we care about to also benefit from our discovery. So, when you’re in the process of crafting your talk, keep the gift to your audience at the front of your mind.
As someone who has been there and done it, I can assure you that if you have an “idea worth spreading” and remember these three lessons, you will create a stellar talk and there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a viral success!