There will be plenty of inspirational messages this week at the TED Conference in Vancouver, billed as where “thinkers, dreamers and mavericks will talk about the world and what’s coming next.” TED’s 18-minute format forces speakers to hone in on the heart of the message they most want to convey. Arguably, if the speakers went longer they might not be as powerful. The limited format requires them to distill and simplify.
Truth and Dare
I love the conference theme, “Truth and Dare.” Those words sum up what an inspirational message is about: honesty and vulnerability. There is no authenticity without those elements. TED content director Kelly Stoetzel explained that “Truth and Dare” relates to deep wisdom and the courage to challenge traditional ways of thinking.
“To me, ‘truth’ is about people sharing a deep truth that they’ve delved into in their work or research,” she said. “Then the ‘dare’ part is including people who are right on the edge of something brave: they’re innovating in a smart way; they’re doing something that’s not business as usual; they’re challenging conventional wisdom.” The truth of new research can dare people and teams to take risks and win big. One talk that I look forward to hearing is by Rajiv Maheswaran, who is using advanced data analysis tools to help make basketball teams smarter. The promo to his talk notes that “in the world of North American sports, baseball and football fans are obsessed with stats about player performance and game-day physics. But basketball, a much more fluid and fast-moving game, has been harder to understand through numbers. Rajiv Maheswaran is working to change that, by offering pro basketball teams insight into game data to make better decisions.”
Stories Are the Heart of an Inspirational Message
By doing a TEDx presentation, I experienced the 18-minute challenge. I needed to drill down on my most important ideas worth spreading. Within those ideas, what were the most important ones? And when I pinpointed those, the question became, “How can I get that message across?” That’s why stories are particularly common in TED– the speaker has to find the most expedient means of getting his or her point across while connecting with audience in short time frame. The pace of TED talks usually are fairly rapid, because time is of the essence. That’s something any speaker should keep in mind, because an audience’s time and attention is precious. TED proves that an inspirational message doesn’t have to be super long. In 18 minutes, you can change the world.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
TED talks are shared free online, so all of us can look for the next great inspirational message. This week, look and listen for talks from Vancouver on the topic of “Truth and Dare.” I expect to be dared to keep digging for the essence of my next inspirational message.
What was your favorite 2015 TED conference speaker? Let me know!
Molly Fletcher helps inspire and equip game changers to dream, live and grow fearlessly. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working with elite athletes and coaches as a sports agent, and applies them to the business world. Sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.