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Alias (5735)

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Journal of Alias (5735)

Wednesday March 12, 2008
12:08 AM

Compulsory viewing for conference presenters

[ #35891 ]

The "TED" Conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is one of the most amazing conferences in the world, especially since you have probably never heard of it.

TED is a $4,000 1,500-person invite-only conference held in Monterey, California annually since 1984.

The quality of the talks are unbelievable, not only for the incredible class of speakers that TED attracts, but also for the quality of the talks themselves.

Most of this is because of the rules TED implements on talks.

All talks are limited to 18 minutes maximum, no exceptions. So the density imposed by this limitation means that talks have to be fast-moving and highly dense in content.

Existing 50 minute talks are pared to the bone, with much greater standards for supporting material on the large projector, and the result is awesome.

TED staff also help the speakers with their presentation material, helping to create Powerpoint presentation if speakers don't have any slides at all, and helping to improve the quality of the images, and make the slides SUPPORT the talk rather than BE the talk.

Speakers are told they should try to present the "best talk of their life", to surprise the audience and "be profound".

TED prohibits speakers for talking about their current company, and the current release of their current project, except where it is essential to support talks about particular topics.

Promotion of companies themselves, or of books, is prohibited.

Artistic performers (for example, an 11 year old girl who is a piano virtuoso) not only perform, but that are required to actually speak as well, with the same sort of conditions... "be profound".

The result is just glorious, and I encourage everyone thinking of presenting a talk at a conference anywhere this year to go watch some (or many) of the TED talks at the link above, and see how good talks SHOULD be done.

And then steal their best tricks relentlessly.

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  • The "TED" Conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is one of the most amazing conferences in the world, especially since you have probably never heard of it.
    Yawn. I have heard of it, which is why I yawn. It's mostly self-important people talking about boring things to other self-important people.

    • There is admittedly a self-importance streak running through the conference. However, the standard of PRESENTATION is awesome.
      • Yeah well -- and this is not at all intended as a criticism, just pointing out a difference (and hell, if anything, it is probably more a criticism of myself than of you, since your talks are generally a lot more entertaining than mine!) -- you care a lot more about presentation than I do. The presentation is WAY down at the bottom of the list of importance to me. I could listen to a very "boring" speaker for hours talk about what I think of as an interesting topic with an interesting perspective or insig