The TED Commandments

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am a huge fan of the TED Conferences and the resulting Talks they produce. Despite recent critiques of being, for instance, too focused on inspiration or too prone to oversimplifying complex ideas, I still find them remarkably informative, thought-provoking and often, yes, inspiring.

For this reason I was curious to discover that TED doesn’t just get lucky with its presenters or only post the really good presentations (though I’m sure they’re selective). In addition to taking care in who they choose in terms of a presenter’s ideas, they also go to great lengths to make sure the presenter is prepared. And, as part of that preparation, they share what’s become known as the TED Commandments, the overarching presentation rules they invite their presenters to follow.

As guidelines to public speaking go, they’re really pretty good. And so whether you’re a teacher, preacher, or do presentations for your work or volunteer activity, these aren’t a bad set of rules to follow. Not all apply to all situations, but most are widely applicable. Try them out the next time you’re preparing that lecture, sermon, or presentation and let me know how it goes.

The TED Commandments:

Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick

Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before

Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion

Thou Shalt Tell a Story

Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy

Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.

Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.

Thou Shalt Remember all the While: Laughter is Good.

Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.

Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.