A TED Talk in the Making

320px-David_Meerman_Scott-David Meerman Scott was my special guest last night at an eMarketing course I teach at Bentley University. We use his book The New Rules of Marketing and PR in the course, so it was great to talk marketing with him. It was a delightful, insightful, and revealing discussion with the students.

And we got another real treat while he was there – a chance to watch a craftsman at work.

David is working on a TED Talk and he demoed an early version with the class. You’ll have to wait until it’s done to learn about the content, but let’s talk about the process.

Prepare and Practice

Good talks come from preparation. And preparation takes time. David put a lot of time (many, many hours, and counting) into preparing the ideas, organizing the message, and working on delivery. And don’t just practice alone, use a live audience – that’s a much better test.

Seek Feedback, Early and Often

David delivered his talk to us, complete with slides and props.  Then he asked for feedback – and he meant it. He ran a great discussion about the talk and each suggestion or comment that was raised. The dialog was great, with lots of good ideas exchanged that will no doubt help David to improve the talk. Don’t just ask for feedback, embrace it.

Hone Your Craft

Even though David is an A-List speaker on the marketing circuit, he works with a speaking coach (Nick Morgan, whose book on speaking is one of my favorites). As he explains, professional athletes use coaches, why not professional speakers? A great sentiment.

But even if you don’t want to go quite that far, you can do this – record a video of your talk. David came prepared with a tripod and video recorder. He even recorded the feedback discussion to make sure he captured everything.

Do Like David

Presentations are key to success. The ability to give a good talk is important in any leadership role. So, learn from David and:

  • Prepare (think, ponder, sketch, research)
  • Practice (really practice, like David – in front of a live audience when the stakes are high)
  • Embrace feedback  (ask for it and then listen and engage in dialog)
  • Hone your skills (even if you’re a good speaker, you can always get better)

Oh, and definitely check out his talk when it’s released. It’ll be a good one.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom, insights, and process with us, David!

Photo credit: wikimedia commons

  • David Meerman Scott

    Hi Tom – Many thanks for this post. I am working hard on this talk. But even more importantly for me, thank you for inviting me to present to your class and for allowing me to road test my talk with you. I appreciate it. Talk soon!