How To Prepare A Speech Like You're A TED Talk Speaker

It’s no secret that TED Talk speakers are some of the most influential and successful speakers to have ever stepped on stage.

But do you know why their speeches are so effective?

One main reason is the TED Talk format.

You see, to deliver a successful TED Talk speech, you must transfer your ONE big idea in a clear and concise yet powerful way that sticks with your audience… in under 18 minutes.

This short timeframe forces you to make every minute of your speech count.

Every second in your 18-minute speech must be perfectly rehearsed before you step on stage. So that you are able to deliver an impactful speech that gets people to digest your idea, think differently and take some sort of action to better their lives.

Here are 8 tips you can use to prepare like a Ted Talk speaker to flawlessly deliver your BIG idea and give an unforgettable speech.

Discovering Your BIG Idea

“You have something meaningful to say, and your goal is to re-create your core idea inside your audience’s minds.”

Chris Anderson, the owner and global curator of TED, expresses that every TED Talk starts with one big idea.

It’s helpful to come up with your core message BEFORE crafting your speech (and build everything else around it - to support and enhance this message).
Struggling to come up with your big idea?

Ask yourself… “What can I say in these 18 minutes that will change someone’s life for the better?”

Break down your answer into one easy-to-understand sentence - the ONE thing you want your audience to walk away with and remember.

Taking the time to flesh out your idea and simplifying it into one sentence, will give you clarity and make crafting the rest of your speech a whole lot easier.

Start With the Beginning and the End

An easy way for you to create your speech in the TED format is to focus on perfecting the beginning and the ending first.

This gives you a sense of structure and balance.

The best way to begin any speech is to grab your audience’s attention right away. There are many techniques you can use to do so.

Here are three:

  • Tell an interesting and personal story
  • Give a hard-hitting fact or statistic
  • Ask a thought-provoking question

As for the end, you’ll want to wrap up your speech in a positive and inspiring way. Aim for a delightful payoff to your story and call your audience to action.

Perfecting the beginning and end of your speech will ensure you start off on a high note with your audience deeply invested in your story and leave them feeling empowered to change their lives.

Rehearse One Hour for Every Minute

On TED’s stage, you only get 18 minutes to change your audience’s lives…

So, you need to make every minute count!

The process of giving a short and effective speech requires a LOT more discipline and practice than long speeches.

Think of the rehearsal time needed to perfect your speech in direct opposite of the time you speak on stage.

A good rule to follow is rehearsing for one hour for every minute of your speech.

This will help you gain an inside-out understanding of exactly what you’re going to say, minute by minute, to deliver an engaging speech where every word is important and relevant to your core message.

Watch & Listen to Yourself

In public speaking, a great way to rehearse is to record yourself (your phone will do).

Listen and pay close attention to your tone, speed, volume, rhythm and voice when practicing your speech.

Get used to your voice and listen to your delivery over and over again before you step on stage.

You’ll also want to watch yourself rehearsing, to give you a better idea of how your audience sees you on stage.

If you want to be a motivational speaker, you’ll need to study your body language.

Always look for ways to improve your hand gestures, facial expressions, body movements, posture and eye contact.

Keep practicing until you come across as charismatic and confident.

An added benefit of recording yourself makes the rehearsal feel more real and puts some helpful pressure on you to deliver a successful speech.


Mimic Stage Conditions

When practicing public speaking, it’s far more effective to rehearse as if you were on stage delivering your speech.

Try to replicate the on-stage experience as much as possible:

  • Move around freely, don’t stay in one spot for too long
  • Practice looking at your audience
  • Talk without using any notes
  • Practice good body language, etc.

By practicing public speaking the RIGHT way, every time you rehearse, you will train your body and mind to present successfully in the spotlight.


Rehearse In Front of Your Peers

It’s always a good idea to practice in front of a live audience before your speech.

Not only does this simulate the real public speaking experience, but you can also get honest feedback from your peers on ways to improve.

Often, you’ll gain insights that are not so obvious to you, even after watching and listening to yourself via recordings.

One Last Rehearsal Before Your Speech

On the day of your speech, go through your entire rehearsal one more time.

This will get you in the right mindset and assure that you know your speech and are able to deliver it within the time frame.



Many public speakers find it helpful to craft a speech from talking off the cuff rather than writing word to word.

Record yourself each time you practice and jot down notes for improvement.

This will save you tons of editing and eliminate sounding like a robot.

You’ll be able to give a much more natural and engaging speech on stage because you have created your speech from talking rather than writing.


If you want to be a great public speaker you need to study the best in the game. Not just how they perform on stage, but how they prepare before their speech.

By understanding the entire process, you’ll be on the right track to crafting your own masterpiece that is remembered long after you step off stage.

Just remember, when it comes to delivering an impactful speech in a short amount of time, PRACTICE is everything.

Practicing the RIGHT way is your key to success in the few minutes you’re up on stage.